Two new piobaireachd recordings have been made available on the PP Audio Archive. The first is the ground and first variation of Lament for John MacDonald of Inverness by P/M Donald MacLeod.
The performance is introduced by P/M MacLeod himself and he states that it was composed at Fort George so probably dates from the very early 1960s.
John MacDonald, Inverness, was P/M MacLeod’s tutor for 25 years and died in 1953. Donald MacLeod gives a masterful performance of his own work, perfectly fingered on a good bagpipe.
Donald MacLeod (1917 -1982) is one of the greatest ever composers of bagpipe music producing six books of ceol beag and one book of piobaireachd. These last have become more popular in recent times thanks to the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition where pipers have to submit his tunes. The competition is held each April on the island of Lewis.
Some of his tunes have been set by the Piobaireachd Society for the 2017 Silver Medal competitions at Oban and Inverness.
Donald MacLeod joined the Army in 1937, and went to France in 1940 with the 2nd Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders in the British Expeditionary Force. Captured as a prisoner of war during the surrender at St. Valery-en-Caux, he escaped during the march to Germany and returned to France in 1944 as pipe major of the 7th Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders.
He spent much of his time based at Fort George near Inverness. After leaving the Army in 1963, Donald became a partner in the bagpipemaking firm of Grainger & Campbell based in Glasgow. He received the MBE for his contribution to bagpipe music in 1978.
P/M John MacDonald of Inverness is the revered piobaireachd expert. A student of Calum Piobair MacPherson, the MacDonalds of Morar and the Camerons, John MacDonald ensured the continuation of his learning through his pupils Donald MacLeod, RU Brown, RB Nicol, Donald MacGillivray, Robert ‘Mickey’ MacKay, William MacDonald (Inverness) and many others. Read more in our Famous Pipers column. P/M MacLeod’s tune is a fitting memorial to this master and his work.
The second tune is Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon from a recent recording by Robert Wallace.
Access the PP Audio Archive here. The picture up top shows P/M MacLeod, John MacDonald, Donald MacGillivray and Mickey MacKay.