Scottish Traditions Series Vol 15 - Pibroch George Moss

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Music samples


(July 2015)

16 tracks: War or Peace * The MacGregor’s Gathering * Pibroch of Donald Dhu * The End of The Little Bridge * In Praise of Morag * The Blue Ribbon * The Desperate Battle and Port Mairi * John Garve MacLeod’s Lament * The Lament for Mary MacLeod * Chisholm’s Salute * The Rout of Glen Truin * Pibroch Variations: Glengarry’s Lament, The Little Spree, The Company’s Lament and Corrienessan * Clan Chattan’s Gathering * Catherine’s Lament * The Lament For MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart * The Big Spree.

From the studies of George Moss, Vol 15 in the Scottish Traditions Series provides an extremely useful insight into the Highland Bagpipe.

Born in Strathglass in 1903, son of an estate worker, it was while his father was working on an estate in Glengarry that George, not yet in his teens, began serious study of the repertory and traditions of the Highland bagpipe.

He competed on occasions but spent a lot of his time studying and playing Pibroch, which is known in Gaelic as ceol mor (the 'great music').

This collection provides invaluable evidence of an earlier, truly Gaelic style of piping, which began to change in the years around World War One when George found that "the Gaelic style was falling out of fashion".

Dr Peter Cooke, now retired but then of The School of Scottish Studies, first came to know George Moss through an article he had contributed to the journal Gairm on Gaelic terms in piping. When he first visited George the latter had not played his pipes nor even the practice chanter much for many years on the advice of his doctor. Peter found George very ready to sing examples from the pibroch repertory in his own canntaireachd and to share his deep knowledge of piping.

On subsequent visits George played examples for Peter on the practice chanter which the School's technical department had equipped with a foot pump and bladder. To give some idea of how his style sounded on the great pipes, Peter later recruited the aid of piper friends who blew up the bag while George fingered the chanter. When his health improved sufficiently, George was later able to blow the chanter and do some teaching.

What is presented here is a distillation of many hours of informal discussions and playing recorded during a number of different visits over eleven years by Peter Cooke. It provides valuable evidence on the piping tradition during the hey-day of the Cameron School and illustrates the underlying principles that guided pipers in producing different types of variations from pibroch grounds.

Some aspects of George Moss' style are certain to sound unfamiliar to today's pipers who will note differences from present-day piping styles. It was important that this style of playing was archived.

The full notes in the CD booklet and the original printed booklet are now available free at the School Of Scottish Studies online archive.

This CD album was originally available on music cassette only.

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