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Morag Josephine Grant

Published On


Page Range

pp. 71-98

Print Length

27 pages

4. Auld Lang Syne in the Early Nineteenth Century

This chapter looks at the early reception history of Burns’s version of the song. Initial indications of how the song became established beyond Johnson’s and Thomson’s collections come from a number of sources from the first decades of the nineteenth century, including chapbooks and arrangements of the song for voices and instruments Josef Haydn and others. Newspaper advertisements and playbills offer a further route to exploring the song, especially in performance. In particular, the chapter highlights the role played by the internationally renowned Scottish tenor John Sinclair in establishing the song, not least through the opera Rob Roy Macgregor, or, Auld Lang Syne by Isaac Pocock and John Davy, which premiered in London in 1818. The chapter concludes with a discussion of early American sources for the new song, thus demonstrating the initial stages of the song’s journey from its Scottish and British roots into the wider world.