James Oswald

Scottish Born 27 Mar 1710 Died 02 Jan 1769

James Oswald (1711-1769) was a Scots composer and music publisher.

Oswald was born in Scotland in 1711, and died in Hertfordshire in 1769.

He wrote variations of popular Scottish folktunes, arranged these for the fiddle and composed other original tunes in the same genre. He published much of his work under the nom de plume "David Rizzio". A "Collection of Minuets " was published in Edinburgh in 1736 and a "Curious Collection of Scots Tunes " in 1740.

In 1741 he left Edinburgh for London and Allan Ramsay lamented this fact in "An Epistle to James Oswald". In London he eventually set up his own publishing house and published "The Caledonian Pocket Companion", a collection of Scottish folktunes, some with his own variations. This ran to 15 volumes and many editions.

Like many others whose works feature in the Wighton Collection in Dundee, he was a member of "The Temple of Apollo", a secret musical society of composers in London along with the Earl of Kellie, John Reid, Charles Burney and others.

He was appointed chamber composer to George III in 1761. Since many of his compositions were written anonymously, research still needs to be done to identify them. He composed in both Scottish and classical 'style gallant' forms.

Contained within the Wighton Collection in Dundee is an MS for "Air for Autumn" in the composer's own hand.

 

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