SATB, soprano recorder
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon
Music: Sheena Phillips, Words: Trad. Scottish
Voicing: SATB, soprano recorder
Performance time approx: 3m 00s
Range S: d' – e'' / A: a – b' / T: g – e' / B: G – a
Price code: D
Robert Burns wrote this song in 1791, fitting the words to a tune which was attributed by its publisher to the Scotsman James Miller – but which has also been compared to traditional English and Irish tunes. The words are about love betrayed and (according to wikipedia’s page on the song) are based on the true story of Margaret (Peggy) Kennedy, who was seduced but then abandoned by a wealthy man. The song is rather reminiscent of Goethe’s Heidenröslein, published just two years earlier.
Sheena Phillips’ setting uses a recorder to suggest the chanting birds that are central to the imagery of the song. Sopranos carry the tune of the first verse, against a gently flowing chordal background. In the second verse, the vocal ranges expand and all parts join in the story-telling.
Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary, fu’ o’ care!
Thou’ll break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons through the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys,
Departed never to return!
Oft hae I rov’d by bonnie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine;
And ilka bird sang o’ its luve,
And fondly sae did I o’ mine.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Fu’ sweet upon its thorny tree;
And my fause luver staw my rose,
But, ah! he left the thorn wi’ me.