Scotland: Edinburgh, The Highlands, Mary Queen Of Scots, Westminster Abbey [Mendelssohn's Scottish]
A Musical Tour of Edinburgh, the Highlands and the Hebrides
With music by Felix Mendelssohn
The Palace of Holyrood had its origin in a guest-house for an abbey established by King David I of Scotland in the 12th century. The abbey fell into ruin and the palace itself underwent various changes, not least after fire damage under the mid-17th century Protectorate, after which it was significantly restored under King Charles II, by the King's Surveyor-General William Bruce and the King's Master Mason Robert Mylne. Parts of the earlier building that survive, however, the include the North-West Tower, built for King James V of Scotland, father of Mary, Queen of Scots, who died a few days after her birth in 1542. The tragic story of Queen Mary, married to the the French Dauphin and after his death to Lord Darnley and, when he died, to the Earl of Bothwell, had a particular appeal to the romantic 19th century, not least through Schiller's play dealing with her death, executed after imprisonment by her cousin, Queen Elisabeth I of England, whose protection she had sought. St' Giles' Cathedral, in the Old Town, has developped gradually, with protection the medieval Burgh Kirk later provided with a Georgian Gothic casing and a Victorian internal restoration. The 15th century central tower and spire is a familiar element of the sky-line of the Old Town. The Cathedral is more properly known as the High Kirk, since, in the established Presbyterian religion of Scotland, there are no bishops. The road in Edinburgh that leads from Holyrood to the Castle and the Mound is known as the Royal Mile, passing through streets of old houses and by the High Kirk of St Giles'. Parallel to the Royal Mile is Princes Street, completed in 1805, and containing the 22-foot-high neo-Gothic memorial to the novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott, a leading figure in the international propagation of the idea of Scotland as a country of romantic appeal, through its history, its literature and its landscape. Calton Hill, with the classical facade of the former Royal High School provides from its height a view over the city, over the medieval Old Town and the symmetrical 18th century New Town. The romantic castle on its isolated promontory, a reminder of the earlier imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots, by her nobles, is the 12th century Eilean Donan Castle, partly destroyed by an English warship in 1712, but later restored. The Queen herself, executed on the orders of the Queen of England in 1587, after nearly twenty years' imprisonment, has her memorial in Westminster Abbey in London.
Music Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56, Scottish
I. Andante, con moto - Allegro un poco agitato - Andante come prima
Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony opens with bars that he had first sketched in Holyrood chapel in Edinburgh. The main part of the first movement introduces a them of Scottish colour, played by clarinet and strings, and the clarinet introduces the second subject, the material splendidly developed. The Movement ends with a return to the opening.