We start today with a new letter from piping researcher Hector Russell, Helensburgh. Hector has been delving into the archives of the 214th Glasgow Company of the Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band and discovering many interesting old photographs and information about a band that was a hotbed of top-level piping and drumming tuition during the latter half of the 20th Century.
The picture above is of the Rutherglen Pipe Band and features the 214’s Pipe Major, Alex MacIver, sitting far left front row. Read more from Mr Russell here.
Ceol mor enthusiasts have plenty of listening on the PP Audio Archive to help them wile away the bleak winter evenings. Added today for their edification and enjoyment are two tunes The Glen is Mine and MacDougall’s Gathering
The first is played by South African expert Chris Terry, many times a prizewinner in Gold Medal contests, and a man who has flown the banner for the great music – and all piping – in that part of the world for his entire life.
Of the Glen is Mine, Binneas is Boreraig, records: ‘This may be by John Patrick MacCrimmon although Angus MacKay says it was by a son of Patrick Og. There is a tradition that the tune was composed when John was passing through Glen Shiel in Ross-shire with the Earl of Seaforth. The Gaelic words associated with the tune mean ‘The glen is mine and all therein’. John MacCrimmon is said to have held the post of hereditary piper to MacLeod of Dunvegan till 1795, when he left for Greenock intending to emigrate to America. He had a change of mind and returned to his native island where he died in 1822 aged 91.’ Listen to Chris’s expert performance here.
The second tune was recorded in 1986 by PP Editor Robert Wallace for a St Andrew’s Day broadcast on the BBC’s classical music channel Radio 3. This was quite a departure for a station devoted to Mozart, Sibelius etc. and features a typical Radio 3 introduction from the duty announcer. The recording was done in one take at the BBC’s Queen Margaret Drive studios in Glasgow in early November that year.
Of the MacDougall’s Gathering, Binneas is Boreraig records: ‘This appears in A MacArthur’s, A MacKay’s and D Campbell’s MSS but none give it a name. In MacKay’s copy of the MacArthur MS he states ‘the name is not known’ but later an unknown person has written ‘The MacDougall’s Gathering’ and this has stuck.’ Have a listen to the performance here.
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