When the P/M had finished breaking the ice we welcomed Robbie Ross back to the fold after quite an absence. His reappearance may coincide with the fact that Master Ross is now walking and Robbie needed to escape from the house? Robbie always entertains and he played some old settings of tunes that can be found in the Glen books.
Next up was the Hon Pres himself fresh (ish) from his international judging sojourns. Colin was in great form and in good shape for the Masters piping recital that was due to be held in the National Piping centre. I say due as unfortunately there has been a late postponement to the original date, but it will be rescheduled.
Colin started of with one of Robert Matheson’s tunes, Song for the Smallpipe, followed by a couple of old school 6/8s. He continued with a selection of small strathspeys and reels before playing 2 x 2/4 marches, Young Willie Murray, composed by his dad, and a relatively new Roddy MacDonald tune, Dalvey. Lovely stuff. Colin kept things in the family by playing his fathers setting of the Cameronian Rant, that is distinctly different and a healthy alternative to the more traditional setting, followed by the reels The Rejected Suitor and The Man from Glengarry. Time for pies.
The Post Pie Piper was father to be Tom Peterkin. Tom’s life is about to drastically change within the next week and there is a general election on so Tam will literally have his hands full. Tom started with the lovely slow march, The Skye Gathering, that can be found in the Scots Guards Book 1. He then played the little heard GS march, Inverlochy Castle followed by a few jigs. Best of luck to you and Mrs P with the new arrival. We look forward to wetting the baby’s head.
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The Lament for Alan My Son
The final player of the night was Lachie Dick, who was resplendently turned out as he was on piobaireachd duties. As per usual Lachie played some excellent light music from his repertoire and when the pipe was locked in played The Lament for Alan My Son, composed by Duncan Johnstone.
Duncan Johnstone was born in Glasgow on 25th July 1925; the youngest of five children. His parents although living in Glasgow, hailed from the Outer Hebrides. His mother, Catherine MacMillan from Barra, and his father, Alexander Johnstone from Benbecula, greatly influenced his taste in music and through them, his love of the great Scottish West Coast music was born.
Duncan’s father encouraged him at the early age of nine to take piping lessons at first from himself, then from Glasgow policeman Angus Campbell. As a result of their tuition and encouragement, he won his first competition in 1938.
In 1970 he began teaching in his home on the south side of Glasgow as well as being a principal instructor in the College of Piping between 1974 and 1978. Duncan was a prolific composer of bagpipe music and In his lifetime Duncan composed over sixty tunes including Farewell to Nigg.
In 1980, Duncan’s son, Alan, lost his fight against leukemia and his courage prompted Duncan to compose a most poignant piobaireachd, Lament for my Son, Alan.
In 1996 Duncan was awarded the Balvenie Medal by Messrs William Grant & Sons as recognition of his lifetime commitment to piping. Duncan passed away on 14th November 1999.
This is one of the great 20th century piobaireachds and the score can be found in Duncan Johnstone’s ”His Complete Compositions” as well as Pipe Major Angus MacDonald MBE’s Collection Volume 2. If you are looking for something relatively new but has a classical feel, this tune is it. It clearly captures the emotion that prompted the composition and to his credit Lachie gave a sterling performance if it. There are one or two recordings online that are worth a listen.
The Scottish Pipers’ Association Professional competition will be held in the College of Piping in Glasgow this Saturday from 9am. Following on from it will be another of their popular and well-received illustrated lectures on pipers and pipe tunes of World War 1. This National Lottery supported event has free admission and Saturday’s lecture, at the same venue, features author Colin Campbell and pipers Niall Stewart and Iain Speirs.