WS: 25 May 1929 – Unsigned “Royal Piobaireachd” [article]



The Weekly Scotsman, 25 May, 1929

Royal Piobaireachd
Acceptance by Duke and Duchess

In the olden days in the Scottish Highlands it was customary to dedicate original compositions on the great Highland bagpipe to Kings and Princes in order to commemorate special occasions. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York have been pleased to accept as peculiarly their own an original Piobaireachd, entitled “Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York’s Welcome to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.” The Piobaireachd seeks to commemorate the Royal visit, together with the important Union of the Churches in Scotland, thus reviving one of the most ancient of Scottish customs.

The classical music of the Highland bagpipe is as sacred to Highlanders as the church music itself, because it rejoices with those who rejoice, and mourns with those who mourn. It combines in becoming harmony and joys and sorrows ; the memories and hopes of their beloved forefathers. Such recognition by the Royal hand of a new creation in the art does much to stimulate the interest in the revival of the composition of ancient piobaireachd, which has been neglected for centuries.

The tune was presented in illuminated Celtic design with Gaelic and English titles in accordance with ancient custom in addition to three water-colour illustrations, viz.:

(1) The insignia of the Order of the Thistle surmounted with the Scottish Crown.

(2) a Highland Scene, the subject of which is the mountain and the loch, depicting the piper playing the “Fiery Cross” through the glen, with a boat waiting in readiness on the loch to row the messengers of war across the water from the castle of the chieftain.

(3) the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The tune is simple and breathes the spirit of the mist and the mountain from whence comes the composer’s inspiration, and the intricate variations are ingeniously worked out from the pleasant melody of the ground-work of the tune.

The composer and designer is John Grant, F.S. A. (Scot.), The well-known authority on piobaireachd, 27, Comely Bank Street, Edinburgh, who is now a member of the Dean Parish Church, and who is to be congratulated on his successful contribution to the classical music of the Highland bagpipe. Mr. Grant has done much to preserve ancient piobaireachd and revive the composition of a long forgotten and neglected art. He is author and publisher of “The Royal Collection of Piobaireachd,” “Piobaireachd: Its Origin and Construction,” joint author of “the Pipes of War,” and was presented in 1922 with the Highland Society of London’s Medal for his services as an instructor of piping for the Army during the war and his interest in ancient piobaireachd.

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