OT: 23 September 1933 – Malcolm MacInnes “The MacCrimmons”

The Oban Times, 23 September 1933

The MacCrimmons

Ostaig, Skye, 18 August, 1933

Sir,–We have just witnessed an event in history, in the erection of a memorial to the MacCrimmons in their ancestral home in Skye. It is a striking tribute to a wonderful type of music.

But the principle step has yet to come–the complete collection and publication of the records of the music of the MacCrimmons. As they were the greatest of the composers and players, and as their works were always being modified in tradition, this would include the works of the other great composers such as the MacArthurs, MacDonalds and Mackays. This collection is scientifically desirable from the point of view of music to show alteration and development; for no one can believe that the “Lament for the Children,” for example, with its subtle and masterly pieces of emphasis in the ends of the three parts and the ground, was played by Patrick Mor in its present style.

We have the recent illustration of “MacCrimmon’s Lament” being said to have been composed by Donald Ban MacCrimmon, who is credited with the gift of prophecy–composing not only the music but the words–a piper, a poet and a prophet, though the words of the song clearly show that their author had little more than a nodding acquaintance with the music of the pipe style of the lament and suggests modern composition and the hand of a clergyman.

The task suggested is big and difficult, but any attempt is better than none. Every year that passes increases the difficulty. Pipers pass like the rest,

I am, etc.,

Malcolm MacInnes