William Zachs - Beethoven, Burns and the Folksong

Thu, Jun 10, 2021, 6:45 PM UTC

William Zachs

Host: James Knox

Event available only at the scheduled time.

This virtual tour narrated by William Zachs tells the story of an unlikely collaboration between Robert Burns and Ludwig van Beethoven. How did Beethoven come to love all things Scottish? Why did he produce nearly two hundred folksong arrangements for piano, violin, cello and different voices, many of them to words by Burns, including 'Auld Lang Syne'?

These two towering geniuses never met. In fact Burns had died ten years before Beethoven took up the project. Yet through the agency of a near-forgotten Edinburgh publisher called George Thomson these legends were brought together - their words and music - their genius.

William's story begins as he reveals a 24-page musical manuscript in the hand of Beethoven of five of these folksong arrangements. Original Burns manuscripts will also be on show along with printed books and works of art. During the 50-minute 'tour' you will hear the unforgettable folksongs produced through this long-distance collaboration - a celebration of music, poetry and genius.

William Zachs is a writer and collector, a story-teller and antiquary. He runs a private library, museum, research centre and exhibition space in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. An Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Bill has written several books, articles, and exhibition catalogues. He lectures widely on topics relating to Scotland, the eighteenth century, book history and the history of collecting. Hailing from Connecticut, he has lived in Edinburgh for nearly forty years.