James Oswald: Arr. Luc Levesque
Les Productions D’Oz: Score and separate parts (58, 18, 18, and 23 pages respectively)
James Oswald was a Scottish composer whose dates were 1710 – 1769, and these 18 pieces were originally written for 2 Mandolins. As all the pieces for both instruments were single lines only, Luc Levesque has therefore added his own 3rd part to fill out the harmonies. He also suggests that the three parts could be played by 2 flutes and guitar, 2 violins and guitar, as well as 2 mandolins and guitar, all of which are possibilities that purchasers might want to consider.
As for the pieces themselves, they are friendly, melodic and very varied in their keys and content, although I struggled to find any Scottish traditional ideas in these pieces as suggested by the Preface. The third part of course therefore is always in an accompanying role, but has some beautiful writing that really adds to the occasional emptiness of just the top two lines, which one assumes is how they were originally intended to be heard. Having said that, there are a number of quite decent performances on YouTube of individual items from this very large set, and they do sound fine just as they are.
However you decide to try out these pieces, for what instrumentation, and whether you add the third part or not, it is a lovely set of not too difficult music that I could see being lots of fun in a number of circumstances, whether in a concert or amongst friends in a private get together, and as such this find set deserves to be seen and heard.