THE Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) is marking today’s anniversary of the very first Burns supper by releasing a film that celebrates the link between Beethoven and Burns.
The first Burns supper was held on 21 July 1801, five years after the poet’s death.
The RCS filmed Beethoven, Burns and the Folksong over three days in December at Drumlanrig Castle and is now selling tickets for the online film.
Opera star Karen Cargill joined students from the RCS for the performance.
The link between Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Burns was explored by Scottish Opera and the National Museum of Scotland in 2019.
The exhibition included the score of Burns’ Highland Harry, set to music by Beethoven, which was performed by the opera company, along with Robert Schumann’s Burns settings.
The RCS’s new film is narrated by William Zachs, an honorary fellow at the University of Edinburgh.
“About 12 years ago, a manuscript came within my sights, a musical manuscript in the hand of the great Ludwig van Beethoven,” Zachs explained.
“What surprised me was that it not only had the musical compositions in the energetic and passionate hand of Beethoven but that it included texts of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard.
“How could it be that these two great figures, these towering geniuses of European culture, ended up literally on the same page?”
Zachs’ film tells the story of George Thomson, the Scottish music publisher who brought the two artists together in the 1790s.
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