Mrs. Norman Lockhart

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MRS. NORMAN(D) LOCKHART. Scottish, Reel. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed by William Clarke (c. 1755-1820), the organist of the Episcopal Chapel, Cowgate, Edinburgh. He was the son of Stephen Clarke (c. 1735-1797) of Durham, England, an organist who had come to compete for the music chair at Edinburgh University in 1764, and, although unsuccessful in that endeavour, settled in the city. He found employ as a teacher of musica and organist at the Episcopal Chapel, and was succeeded by his son William in the position. Stephen was an intimate friend of poet Robert Burns, and was the music editor for the first five volumes of James Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum, a position that William also succeeded to, harmonizing the airs in the concluding sixth volume. William also edited A Collection of Chaunts in 1817. The family came in contact with the Gows through Niel’s eldest son William Gow (1751-1791), who was clerk of the Chapel in the 1780’s. “Mrs. Normand Lockhart’s Reel” appears in the Gow's Fifth Collection of 1809, published a few years after the death of family scion Niel Gow. The title refers to Philadelphia (Phillis) Barbara MacMurdo (d. 1825) of Drumlanwig, “a young lady of great accomplishments,” who married Norman Lockhart, esq., of Tarbrax in 1803. She was the object of several songs by Robert Burns, including “Winding Nith,” “Saw ye my Phely,” and “Phillis the Fair,” although several sources say it was written in her honor “to gratify the poet’s friend and musical advisor, Stephen Clarke” who “lavished her praises” and was obviously smitted with her (though there must have been a large age difference). Phillis Macmurdo was the sister to “Bonny Jean,” another of the poet’s works.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 307. Gow (Fifth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1809; p. 27. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 237.

Recorded sources:




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