‘The eject mechanism didn’t work, so I had to pull it apart to get the tape out. Eventually I did and was delighted that it turned out to be a recording of a recital featuring Donald MacPherson, from Cork in 1990 so it was definitely worth saving for posterity.
‘There doesn’t appear to be a lot of video of him up on YouTube, so I think this is worth a look and listen or two. He proves the point that you don’t need to play a gut bursting pipe to achieve a quality sound – he doesn’t even break sweat! The tape is about 35 minutes in length – and starts of with some nice marches and finishes with the piobaireachd.
‘Donald was over to give some tuition and I remember him taking a few of us through the Battle of Auldearn and a couple of other tunes that I can’t remember at this distance. A few played at the recital that night, myself, Michael and Kieran Murphy, Noel Harford and some drummers too, namely Johnny Keogh and a young Stephen Creighton.
‘The highlight of the night was Donald though and you could hear a pin drop. Personally, I was in awe of him. We’ll never see his likes again. Somebody local recorded it and they were selling it shortly after probably to raise band funds and that’s how I ended up with a copy.’
‘No need for flashy fingerwork either and I would like to encourage all those who populate so much of the airwaves with this kitchen piping to better spend their time trying to emulate what Donald MacPherson does in this video.
• Were you at the 1990 Cork recital? If so please pass on your memories to PIping Press. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read all about Donald MacPherson and how he achieved him immaculate sound in our unique series of articles on Piping Press here. Hear more of Donald’s playing on the PP Audio Archive.
7 thoughts on “Historic Video Recording of Donald MacPherson Saved For Posterity”
Thank you for publishing Donald’s wonderful recording in Cork. As a friend of Donald’s over half a lifetime, I regarded him as a musical genius, I am quite sure he could have mastered any instrument of his choice. To be taught by Donald was a privilege, he brought to his teaching an insight into our music which one could not discover for oneself, It was quite remarkable!! I can hear him now……’that was good playing John, BUT’ there was always the ‘but’ and some small but vital insight would be explained and demonstrated on the chanter. I just could not get enough of his instruction, and he was unstinting and generous of his time in doing so. I have always wondered why his recorded sound did not quite match that when one heard him play ‘in the flesh’ as it were. It may have something to do with the harmonics of his wonderful pipe, but it was so. To hear him in competition or recital was to hear a pipe sound never equalled or surpassed! Bob, can you search for more of his recordings? I’m sure there are some more about.
Thanks for that John; will certainly publish any other recordings. RW
sorry for so many comments. those cane drone reeds going so well. wow.
his technique is incredible. His grips in particular are wonderful.
I enjoy how he tunes – no fancy fireworks, just a few phrases, and gets on with it. No multiple birls here. A stylish and understated master.
wonderful recording / video of the great Donald MacPherson. short excerpts of this have been on you tube for some time, and always been a favourite of mine, for the effortless tone, playing and style at age 68 too! This was the year he won his last Clasp/ Oban Open (not sure which). Clasp I think?
Yes,Nick……I put them up about 10 years ago,then could never remember where the original videotape went to,until recently,as per the story above.
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