The Northern Scot, 9 May 1908
New Collection of Piobaireachd
An Elgin Man
It is with much pleasure that we call attention to The Royal Collection of Piobaireachd composed and published by Mr. John Grant, Edinburgh, Mr. Grant is a native of Elgin and during his residence in the town he served for six years in the local volunteers. His enthusiasm for everything pertaining to pipe music is so intense that it affects his readers and wakens a desire to know more about the glorious history of the pibroch. The composition of the book as Mr. Grant informs us entailed a good deal of thought and work, but it must have been a labour of love.
King Edward has been pleased to accept from the hand of the author one tune as peculiarly his own. In this connection Mr. Grant remarks–” this art is a royal art as it has ever been, and if in the olden days it derived inspiration from dwelling on the royal cairns and on the ruins of departed glory, surely it is no derogation from its power that now in its resurrection it should receive audience and recognition in the presence of Kings and Princes.” Mr. Grant is evidently imbued with a fine majestic fervour of the Celt, and has imparted some of that feeling to his book. The frontispiece is a large full-page reproduction of a painting by Lockhart Bogle called “the Pibroch,” a picture which in a wonderful way presents to our imagination all the wild abandon and charm of one of the great MacCrimmons, as with his plaid wrapped around him he paces the lofty battlements, the streamers waving in the blast. In a finely written introduction the composer refers to the power of the Lament “searching the heart to the inmost core, and tapping the fountain of tears. For who that has ever been present at a chieftain’s funeral, where the flowing grass ways mournfully in the western breeze, as the zephyrs moan in the green dells, but must realize the pathos of the Lament for the hero who will never return. No more we tread this fancy-haunted valley, where through the dark and lonely glens winds the dimpling stream… He is sleeping beside the sounding surge that laves his narrow bed, for the chief has closed his eyes in darkness, and has quitted the light of the day.” This is the true spirit of the pipes which will appeal to all Scotsmen, who will also agree with Mr. Grant when he says that there can be no prettier site than a full-dressed Highland piper, filled with the spirit of the mists in the hills, discoursing warlike lays on the great Highland bagpipe. The glamour and heroic history of the pipes will always appeal to Scotsmen.
The collection which contains six pieces is dedicated by special permission to the President and members of the Piobaireachd Society. Besides the tune accepted by King Edward other tunes have been accepted by the Duke of Connaught and by Lord Archibald Campbell. It is interesting to note that there are three tunes “King Edward VII Salute,” “The Lament for Queen Victoria,” and “The Piobaireachd Society’s Salute”–are also arranged with the piano setting, an unusual feature which should enhance their value. Mr. Grant deserves well at the hands of that large and growing band of pipers for the great pains he has taken in the production of this collection, and it is to be hoped they will take advantage of it and encourage others to do the same. From those able to judge, we believe that the pieces in the book are all of a high standard of excellence and well worth the adoption by the most distinguished pipers in the land.
The collection is finally printed in ordinary music size, and is published by the author.