The piping and pipe band calendar has been decimated by the virus emergency. No gatherings of any kind or even band practices can be held in complete safety. This situation is expected to pertain for several months.
Piping Press will do what it can to keep the housebound piper busy and entertained.
Today we are offering free of charge the first set of three quality protraits of piping giants of the past. Readers can download these individually and have them framed. They make an ideal adornment for everyone’s piping and practice room.
The first are of John Ban MacKenzie, Angus MacKay and John MacDonald, Inverness. Download and send directly to an online print shop for framing thus ensuring a quality finish, prompt delivery and social distancing.
John Ban MacKenzie (1796 – 1864) was the first of Scotland’s 19th century pipers to the new Victorian, Highland, aristocracy. He was considered the best piper of his day and the most handsome.
Such was the effect of his magnificent whiskers and bejewelled regalia that ladies were known to swoon when he entered the room at Taymouth Castle in Perthshire where he was piper to the Marquis of Breadalbane. He won the prize pipe at the Highland Society of Scotland competition in Edinburgh in 1823.
He was renowned as someone who could turn the pipe, make the reeds, kill the sheep, fashion the bag, and play the resultant instrument better than anyone else. He was also a composer and produced the beautiful piobaireachd His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie, written for his son who died in his prime.
Angus MacKay (1813 -1859) is considered the great genius of the bagpipe. The first Sovereign’s Piper, Angus gave us the first playable scores of music, music he had learned orally from his father John MacKay a pupil of the legendary MacCrimmons.
His book of 1838 is still in use today and set the trend for our modern written, piobaireachd tradition. With Hugh MacKay (no relation), Angus is credited with creating a new genre of pipe music: the ‘competition’ 2/4 march whereby they took traditional quickstep airs and made them into complicated listening music ideal for competing.
John MacDonald, Inverness, was also piper to the Sovereign, King George V (and later to King Edward VIII and King George VI) though not in the same capacity as Angus. John (1865 – 1953) provided a link between the Victorian masters such as Calum ‘Piobair’ Macpherson, and the present day. His pupils included Donald MacGillivray, Nigg, William M MacDonald, RU Brown, RB Nicol and P/M Donald MacLeod.
Through them he passed on traditional playing as it has come down to us through the generations. A master player as well as a master teacher, John MacDonald was still competing and winning major events aged 65.
Get your high quality print PDFs of these renowned pipers by clicking on these links: John Ban MacKenzie, Angus MacKay, John MacDonald, Inverness. Stay tuned to Piping Press for more Piping Portraits.
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