OT: 2 May 1908 – Wm. Blair “The Royal Collection of Piobaireachd” [Review]

The Oban Times, 2 May 1908


In the introduction of his Royal Collection of Piobaireachd, Mr. John Grant makes an impassioned appeal to Highlanders to preserve the heroic art of piobaireachd.

 “Oh race of warriors who never fled from the foe! Shall we your descendants forget the music that in the tide of Battle brought back to your minds on foreign shores the spell of your own native mountains… The spirit of the mist and the mountain awakens us to better things, and indicates to our hearts that we shall not be untrue to ourselves, nor forget our paternal heritage.”

The collection is dedicated, by special permission to the President and members of the Piobaireachd Society, “who,” says the author, “have zealously awakened to the noble task of cherishing and promulgating the classical heritage of Ceòl Mòr.” The tune “Failte a Mhorachd Ro-òirdhearc Eamhar VII” (His Most Excellent Majesty King Edward VII Salute) was accepted by the King on 27th July 1906. Other tunes have been accepted by H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught, and by Lord Archibald Campbell. A special feature of the folio is that it contains three tunes with full and separate piano settings, which is somewhat unusual in piobaireachd. Mr. Grant is also fortunate in having such a long list of subscribers to The Royal Collection. Close upon two hundred names are printed at the end of the folio, and these are drawn from all parts of Britain, and some from beyond the seas. Mr. Grant deserves well at the hands of his countrymen, of those who play the pipes, and of those who listen to them. He has been at vast trouble to present his collection as far as possible without a flaw. The Piobaireachd Society being pleased, it ought to follow that pipers throughout the country will encourage and use the Collection, give it every chance, and promote its circulation. Pipers of note are chary of adopting new tunes, but it is only by encouragement that the heroic art will spread, and make progress throughout the land. Every meritorious venture should therefore be welcomed, and Mr. Grant’s Royal Collection be added to their list by the distinguished pipers who have so much in their power to make or mar a tune.

The Collection, ordinary music size, is covered in pale grey, bearing a conventional device, and surmounted by the crown. A figure of a piper drawing the music of the storm, the spirit of the wind in the glens, is the illustration from the painting by that mystic artist Lockhart Bogle. The publication costs three shillings and three pence, post paid, and is to be had direct from Mr. John Grant, 2 Murieston Place, Edinburgh; or, after the 28th May, at 21 Murieston Crescent. We hope the Collection will have the success it so worthily merits.

[Ed. wrote “Wm Blair]