Between 1755 and 1761 James Oswald composed and published two sets of 48 Airs for the Seasons, 96 pieces in all. Each air included from two to four separate movements in different time signatures and tempos, almost always in the same key. Each was printed on a single page with the melody on one staff and a bass line (with figures) on a second staff. Additionally, each piece was named after a plant and organized into groups of twelve for each season.
This book contains a selection of 24 Oswald airs, 6 for each season, in standard notation and arranged for solo mandolin. Originally intended for the flute or violin, in most cases the original key has been changed to better accommodate the modern mandolin. Oswald’s Scottish heritage is evident in the number of movements that are actually slow airs, jigs, reels or menuets. Altogether, this is a delightful collection of 18th century melodies suitable for solo performance, teaching or private enjoyment.