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Frank Kidson

revised by David Johnson

(b? Edinburgh, c1684; d ?London, after 1752). Scottish singer and folksong collector . His father was Daniel Thomson, one of the king's trumpeters for Scotland. He sang solos as a boy at a Musical Society concert in Edinburgh on St Cecilia's Day 1695. By 1722 he had settled in London, where he gave a benefit concert in February that year, including (according to Burney) a Scottish folksong as an encore.

Thomson published Orpheus Caledonius, a Collection of the Best Scotch Songs set to Musick (London, 1725), a lavishly produced volume dedicated to the Princess of Wales, with a subscription list of 300 notable people. It contains 50 Scottish folksongs, most of them taken from Allan Ramsay's Tea-table Miscellany (Edinburgh, 1723); the melodic ornaments and the figured bass accompaniments are Thomson's own. Hawkins described Thomson as ‘a tradesman’ and the collection as ‘injudicious and very incorrect’; it is true that some of the song texts are in crude, oral versions and that the figured basses have grammatical mistakes. In ...