A real treat today for all piping enthusiasts: a recording of Angus MacColl’s winning MSR in the Former Winners’ competition at this year’s Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, writes the Editor.
Angus (pictured above with his son Angus jnr. at this year’s Northern Meeting) has kindly agreed to it being broadcast and listeners will hear why he is the revered champion piper that he is. You will have perhaps read before my comments about playing to win, the need to eschew the safe, careful route so many pipers take when playing for the big prizes.
Just so Angus. Here we have a beautiful pipe, brilliant technique, and, this is what is most impressive, wonderful phrasing, professional tempi and a natural sense of rhythm manifest. In an earlier report on the Lochaber Gathering Angus Nicol talked of the Spanish having a word for this sort of playing: ‘duende’, meaning from the heart. In Gaelic ‘blas’ may be close.
Our champion’s Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque is perfectly phrased, each questioning and answering the other; Susan MacLeod skips along like a young thing – anyone could dance to this – and then there are eight parts of the classic Pretty Marion twice through, Perfectly pointed, not a blemish. You will travel a long way to hear a better March, Strathspey and Reel than this and thanks to Angus for sharing it with the piping world.
Those of us lucky enough to catch this live knew we were hearing something special. Unfortunately I missed the first time through the march but am grateful I manage to catch the rest of it. I’m sure the judges had very little difficulty with their decision for first prize. Here’s why:
Not to be outdone by the ‘youngster’, the remarkable Jimmy McIntosh continues to amaze in his 91st year. He has recorded a further two tunes for our audio archive, part of Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay and part of the Prince’s Salute. Have a listen here.
If any reader he or she thinks may be suitable for our archive then please get in touch. Pipe band recordings are welcome too.