chapter  9
13 Pages

Hamish MacCunn

A Scottish National Composer?

This chapter explores Hamish MacCunn's quick rise to fame and subsequent decline through contemporary writings, focusing in particular on perceptions of his contribution to Scottish art music and status as a Scottish national composer. Hamish MacCunn gained the attention of the critics as a young Scotsman attending the Royal College of Music on a composition scholarship. During his time at the RCM, MacCunn met George Grove and August Manns, who began to feature his overtures and cantatas at the Crystal Palace in 1885, effectively launching his rapid rise to fame. Between 1887 and 1892 MacCunn's name appeared almost monthly in the Musical Times. Musical works, received scant attention in newspapers and music periodicals. Most of MacCunn's later non-Scottish works tended to cater for popular tastes. The intentional use of Scottish subjects and traditions by a native Scotsman was noticed by contemporaries.