Online Lunchbreak Concert: Ailie Robertson - Clarsach


Join award-winning harpist and composer Ailie Robertson online for a soothing and uplifting concert of Scottish tunes, Irish jigs, love songs and contemporary music for harp. 

Ailie crosses the boundaries of traditional and contemporary music in her work. She is the recipient of numerous commissions, awards and residences. Recent commissions include pieces for the BBC Proms 2019, London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dunedin Consort and the Glasgow School of Art Choir. She is currently composer in residence for Sound Scotland and Glyndebourne Opera.

Programme note 

Pipe Major John Stewart/Editor’s Favourite/The Cape Breton Fiddlers Welcome to Shetland 
A traditional March-Strathspey-Reel set to start the programme. Three well-loved Scottish tunes.  

Eleanor Plunkett/President Garfield’s Hornpipe 
A set of Irish tunes. Eleanor Plunkett was written by the famous blind harpist Turlough O’Carolan who lived from 1670 to 1738. He wrote over 200 compositions for the harp, which were collected by Edward Bunting. President Garfield’s Hornpipe is a traditional tune written in honour of President Garfield, the 20th President of the United States.  


Burns Set – My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose/Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie 
One of the most famous love songs associated with Robert Burns, My Luve's like a Red, Red Rose was composed prior to 1794 when it appeared in a collection by an Edinburgh composer named Urbani. Part of the song's appeal is its use of powerful, natural imagery to convey a love that is ever-lasting and capable of surviving both distance and time. Burns probably composed Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie after his summer tour of the Highlands in 1787. Sir Walter Scott mentions a border fiddler nicknamed 'rattlin roarin Willie' but Burns adds a (mild) hint of bawdiness to the idea of 'fiddling'.


A contemporary composition for Lever Harp written by the French composer and harpist Bernard Andres. He was born in Belfort in 1941. In 1966 he received first prize for harp from the Paris Conseravtoire, and then went on to serve as principal harpist for the Air Force Army Orchestra and the Symphonic Orchestra of Ile de France from 1969 until his retirement in 2005. 


10,000 Days and Nights, I will wait for you 
This is a love song I wrote for my Traditional Spirits album, describing waiting for a loved one to return.  


The Exploding Bow/The Lisnagun 
Some jigs to finish the programme – two well-loved dance tunes from Ireland.  

(Running time: 28 mins approx)