Piobaireachd Society Promote ‘Hidden Treasure’ Concert in Edinburgh

The Piobaireachd Society is to promote a concert of ceol mor as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this coming August. The concert is entitled ‘Classical Pipe Music – Scotland’s Hidden Treasure’.

The date is Sunday, August 12, at 7pm. The venue is the newly refurbished, 200-seat St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh. The concert is expected to finish around 9.30pm and there will be a small reception afterwards.

The pipers invited to take part are Callum Beaumont, Glenn Brown, Ian K. MacDonald and Jamie Forrester (pictured above). They will each play two tunes in continuous fashion with no gaps for tuning. This format was pioneered successfully at a concert run by Allan MacDonald at the Edinburgh Festival in 1999. 

The tunes to be played are: Phantom Piper of the Corrieyairick, Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick, the Desperate Battle of the Birds, Beloved Scotland, Lament for the Children, MacLeod’s Controversy, Cabar Feidh Gu Bragh and the Prince’s Salute. Tickets are priced £10 and will be available via the Fringe Box Office and at the door. The entrance fee includes a comprehensive concert programme detailing the history of the music and the tunes played.

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Piobaireachd Society President Jack Taylor said: ‘Most people never hear piobaireachd, and know nothing of it. Its few devotees must spend long days at competitions and endure obsessive tuning to quench their thirst. By having this concert on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe we will condense and finesse the experience, and allow the full beauty of our music to be heard by a wider audience.

The beautifully refurbished St Cecilia’s Hall

‘The venue is perfect, and the continuous stream of the best tunes played by world experts without the distraction of tuning will surely mesmerise even the most sceptical. Ears and eyes will be opened to what must be Scotland’s best kept  musical secret.’

The 1999 concert was held in the Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh, on August 30th as part of the official Edinburgh Festival. The featured pipers were Barnaby Brown, Allan MacDonald, William McCallum, PP Editor Robert Wallace, William MacDonald (Benbecula) and Roderick MacLeod. A CD recording was made of the evening, produced by Iain MacInnes of the BBC.

The sleeve note records: ‘The concert was held in Edinburgh University’s Reid Hall which has an excellent acoustic for pipe music and was part of a wider series promoted by the Edinburgh International Festival under the banner of Ceol na Piob, ‘Music of the Pipes’. Six pipers took part, all leading players, each with a gift for breathing life into the old tunes. The concert consisted entirely of pibroch [sic], a daunting prospect, perhaps, for performer and listener alike, but one which ultimately proved highly satisfying. The format was suggested by Allan MacDonald, and was based on a model pioneered in Brittany in France over the past ten years.

‘Each player was invited by Allan to perform two or at most three tunes over the course of the evening, the music being carefully selected to represent a broad cross-section of pibroch repertoire. As one tune finished, the next began, grating a rolling sequence of the big music, free from the usual distraction of tuning on stage, and providing a startling study in contrasting styles and technique. The audience was spellbound. The music flowed as it has rarely done on the competition platform.’

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