Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

250th Birthday of Scottish Song Collector Alexander Campbell


born 22.2.1764 

Karen has written and talked and blogged about Alexander Campbell so much over the past
eight or nine years that we hardly need to go over his biography again.  However, it would be shabby not to mention his 250th birthday on Saturday 22nd February.  His was a fascinating life. He dabbled in many things, and didn't achieve particular greatness, but he left a pile of published writings and Scottish music.  

To celebrate his birthday, he surely merits a cake. And perhaps a cognac, since we know he
appreciated a good one!  (Thanks to for the image - Campbell was once mistaken for Napoleon, so I thought this particular cognac was apt!)

You can read about Campbell at length in Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era.  (There's a copy in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.)  You'll also find further writing on Karen's pages.

Some of his songs from Albyn's Anthology have been arranged for sax ensemble, and Karen has recordings by a Cambridge saxophone ensemble called Saxual Healing:-
Finally, Jo Currie's book, Mull: the Island and its People, contains a big chunk from Campbell's Hebridean song-collecting diary (the time he spent on Mull, specifically) - warmly recommended.  It's not in the Whittaker Library, but could be obtained for registered readers if anyone was interested.

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