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If It's Not Scottish ... Classical Contributions Of The Scots

The Scottish bagpipes make a surprise appearance in a beloved piece by Peter Maxwell Davies.
The Scottish bagpipes make a surprise appearance in a beloved piece by Peter Maxwell Davies.

The votes are in. The people of Scotland have chosen to remain in the United Kingdom. To mark the historic occasion, a wee reminder of what the Scots have contributed to classical music is in order.

When British classical music gets mentioned, the big guns always come to mind — composers like Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Purcell. But the Scots aren't just chopped haggis. They've got Peter Maxwell Davies, James MacMillan and Thea Musgrave to brag about, as well as such prominent performers as percussionist Evelyn Glennie and conductor Donald Runnicles. There's the Scottish landscape itself, imposing enough to have inspired non-Scots composers from Haydn and Beethoven to Mendelssohn, Bruch, Dvorak, Leroy Anderson and Malcolm Arnold.

So gather up a dram of single malt and a Dundee cake and settle in for a sampling of a few of Scotland's finest.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga
Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.