Performing Robert Burns' Ae Fond Kiss at the University of
Otago last night are (from left) Tim Lindsay (violin), Tom
McGrath (fortepiano), Jonathan Drummond (cello) and Sam
Butter (tenor). Photo by Craig Baxter.
The love songs of ''serial philanderer'' Robert Burns
were performed at a lecture in Dunedin last night.
About 100 people attended the lecture ''Robert Burns' Songs
of Love and Courtship in Marama Hall at the University of
Otago as part of the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival.
University of Glasgow regius chair of English language and
literature Prof Nigel Leask explored the poet's works.
''Tonight is a celebration of the man whose statue dominates
The lecture was illustrated by songs and musical
accompaniments from students of the university's Department
Prof Leask estimated nearly half of the more than 370 songs
written by the poet and lyricist were love songs.
Love was the starting point for Burns' ''poetification'',
Prof Leask said.
''The Burns songs of love and courtship focused on love as a
living and breathing force.''
Prof Leask's most recent book, Robert Burns and Pastoral:
Poetry and Improvement in Late Eighteenth-Century
Scotland, won the Saltire Prize for the best Scottish
research book of 2010.
He is completing the first edited collection of Burns' prose
writings for the Oxford Edition of the Works of Robert Burns.
Prof Leask made a disclaimer last night before reciting a
Burns poem about male hares.
''I wish Billy Connolly was here to read it but I'll do my
best. There's a rude word in it, which I'm not going to
The word rhymed with bucks.