Smatterings of piobaireachd were to be the order of the evening and all fuelled by some home made short bread.
The P/M took out his pipe, well not his actually but his uncles, dusted down after some years in the attic. The almond oil and silvo had been thrown at them and with a new cover and cords they looked better than they deserved to be. Chris Anderson insists they were made by a couple of gents under the name of ‘Mathieson’ who were based in Glasgow. They were taken over by Lawries or Henderson? Anyway no one in the company could shed any light on the maker so if you have any information on Mathieson bagpipe makers it would be most welcome.
With an old Sinclair chanter thrown in the P/M played a few tunes before giving a couple of variations of The Vaunting. (Prompted by listening to John MacDougall on pipeline last Saturday.) Peter McAlister-he of the home made shortbread- then had a few tunes on the mystery set and it has to be said the drones were resonant and rock solid.
Peter then took out his own pipe and gave us a few tunes that included the 2/4 marches, My Native Highland Home, that can be found in the Logan collection and Father John MacMillan of Barra. On a lovely pipe and new chanter reed Peter concluded his spot with a few lines of MacIntosh’s Lament.
Despite the shortbread there was still room for the pies when they arrived! Next up was Alan Harper who is now making his own chanter reeds as well as the cane done reeds. He has also treated himself to a new Roddy MacLeod chanter. Alan played a few tunes before he gave us the ground and first variation of The Massacre of Glencoe.
Jenny Hazzard was on next. Gone were the 78th tunes as she was onto her next piping project. (I think she mentioned something about getting round to learning the Spirit of Scotland tunes?). With the immanent launch of the new Captain John MacLellan book and CD at the Piobaireachd Society conference on 19th March, where Colin is speaking and Jenny illustrating a few bit and bobs from some of the tunes, she got in a bit of practice with a few lines of one of the tunes in the book, For My Lass, Fair, Pretty and Highland. While Jenny did her stuff a draft copy of the book went round the company for a sneak preview.
The book has all eleven of John MacLellan’s compositions, and a double CD of each of the tunes performed either at the annual Captain John A. MacLellan Invitational Recital-Competition or by the Captain himself or by Colin, so we have a wide range of styles and interpretations to look forward to. With notes, anecdotes and a few pictures this is sure to become part of every piobaireachd enthusiast’s collection.
The final player of the night was Gordon Hislop who was smartly turned out to give us the evenings Ceol Mor. Gordon is playing in the Archie Kenneth Quaich competition this Saturday (5th March at the Royal Scottish Pipers Halls in Rose Street, Edinburgh) so this was a bit of practice. He made a first class job of Corrienessan’s Salute
and a repeat performance will see him do well at the weekend. Best of luck Gordon.
Here is a wee anecdote about the tune. Corrienessan’s Salute was the tune with which pipe maker R. G. Hardie won the Gold Medal at Oban in 1947. Archibald Campbell described the occasion in a letter to Seton Gordon:
‘The piping at Oban was not very satisfactory, and there was not a single decent performance in either piob. competition. All the players of any repute had entered, but Archie MacNab, Donald MacLeod, PM. Donald Maclean, Malcolm MacPherson and Roderick MacDonald did not appear and Brown and Nicol could not get leave.
A joiner in Glasgow called Hardie was given [the medal] for a not inspiring rendering of Corrienessan. [Robert] Reid was placed first in the open with Craigellachie, a tune which is completely beyond him. D. Maclean was second with an indifferent performance of Antrim. I thought Robertson should have been first with the Children, not that he played it well, but he was about the most local.’
As mentioned the Archie Kenneth Quaich is on this Saturday 5th March, the Piobaireachd Society Conference is on the weekend of the 18th to 20th March (more details on their website) and the Duncan Johnstone competition is on Saturday 19th March in the National Piping Centre, Glasgow.
The next Eagles will be on Tuesday 15th March. Hope to see you then.