The piping and pipe band worlds are holding up well despite a summer decimated by the virus emergency, writes the Editor. Piping Press will continue to do its bit to keep everyone’s enthusiasm bubbling along until the sunny uplands of 2021 appear on the horizon.
Today we are offering free of charge the second set of three quality portraits of significant piping figures of the past. Readers can download these individually and have them framed. They make an ideal adornment for everyone’s piping practice room.
The second batch is of John MacLellan DCM, Dunoon, John MacColl, Oban, and John MacDougall Gillies. Use the link below to download them and then they can be sent directly to an online print shop for framing.
John MacLellan DCM, Dunoon, was one of the greatest pipe music composers of all time. His tunes, Lochanside, Southall, Dream Valley of Glendaruel and dozens more, all speak for themselves. Here is an extract from the article written by his great-nephew Jim Henderson and reproduced from Box & Fiddle Magazine:
……. John became Pipe Major of the 8th Argyll’s in 1919 and remained in post through the reconstitution to being a TA unit again and finally retired from the 8th in 1930. In 1932 Cowal Highland Gathering organised a competition for an original march, the winner to be entitled Cowal Gathering. One of John’s tunes took first prize. After this competition the Cowal Highland Gathering Committee published the Fourth Cowal Collection containing the twenty best tunes, including the winner. No fewer than seven of John’s tunes were included in the book. ‘Cowal Gathering’ is a very fine 2/4 march and along with ’The Taking of Beaumont Hamel’, ‘South Hall’, ‘Bonnie Dunoon’, ‘Glen Caladh Castle’, ‘Colonel MacLean of Ardgour’ and many others have become ‘standard’ tunes for bagpipe, box and fiddle.
When John retired from the 8th Argyll’s his successor was Pipe Major George MacDonald. Soon after taking over the 8th Argyll’s he set about publishing a book of pipe tunes composed by members and former members of the 8th. Of the 65 or so tunes published in this book, 40 were penned by John McLellan. I referred to one of those tunes in an earlier paragraph ‘The Burning Sands of Egypt’. Its original title, and that used in the book was ‘The Bens of Jura’ but nowadays we know it as ‘The Road to the Isles’. It was John McLellan who composed the tune for this world famous song….. read the full article here.
John MacColl was another of the great Argyllshire composers. His tunes, Jeannie Carruthers, Mrs John MacColl, Clan MacColl are all classics, standards, call them what you will. Of his Dugald MacColl’s Farewell to France I have written, ‘For sheer melodic ingenuity, variety, rhythmical structure this tune has to rank among the finest in the 2/4 competition march canon. When ranked alongside John MacColl’s other monumental achievements Jeannie Carruthers, Mrs John MacColl, Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, Major Byng Wright, Clan MacColl, Argyllshire Gathering and John MacFadyen of Melfort, we see a composer of real genius.’
Read more here
John MacDougall Gillies (1854-1925 ) was a true tradition bearer of ceòl mòr ranking alongside John MacDonald, Inverness, in influence and stature. A pupil of Sandy Cameron, Gillies worked for a time as a house painter before taking over Peter Henderson’s shop in Renfrew Street, Glasgow.
It was here that he would teach a generation of pipers in the Glasgow and west of Scotland. His leading protégé was P/M Robert Reid a master piper and winner of all the major trophies. Gillies also taught Iain MacPherson, who in turn taught his own son Donald who went on to become the greatest competing piper of his or any age.
Get your high quality print PDFs of these renowned pipers by clicking on these links. There is also a composite as seen at the head of this article: Composite, John MacLellan, Dunoon, John MacColl, John MacDougall Gillies.
Get details of the first batch of prints featuring John McDonald, Inverness, Angus MAcKay and John Ban MacKenzie here.