APC Approach 1: PS 13 – The Rout of Glenfruin

Taking another look at the remarkable Hannay-MacAuslan collection, we now turn to a famous (Set List 2019) tune: PS 013 – The Rout of Glenfruin. You can listen to Bruce Gandy perform it here:

Tunes Index

The primary sources are not significantly different from one another:

  • As expected, Angus MacKay favors the held-E cadence, whereas the MacDonald and Hannay-MacAuslan scores favor their streaming-style cadence.
  • As expected, Angus MacKay favors a single urlar return after the taoluath trebling, whereas MacDonald follows Hannay-MacAuslan’s traditional repeat of the urlar refrain after every doubling or trebling.
  • MacKay includes a Lemluath cycle, whereas MacDonald and Hannay-MacAuslan show a Suibhal motion.
  • Campbell’s version (called the MacGrigor’s March) differs quite a bit from the othera with an extensive “Thumb” cycle going directly into the Taorluath and Crunluath cycles.  It is well worth exploring on its own (later).

This pibroch is typically played as a lament, but the Campbell title suggests another possibility.  Drawing inspiration from the event to which this pibroch’s title alludes (a conflict between the Clann Gregor and the Colquhouns of Luss), rather than imagining it as a sorrowful recollection, what if this were a taunting celebration of victory?  Or, perhaps simply, a martial tune of commemoration?

With this in mind, we will keep the cadences “streaming”, the hiharins rhythmical and the tempo brisk.

There is one fascinating aspect of the Hannay-MacAuslan score: how the darado in the urlar, the Thumb and the Siubhal cycles is written as theme notes, and only in the later cycles is written in the gracenote style we are familiar with today. This is suggestive: perhaps we should be playing this movement, generally, more open, with the emphasis upon the higher notes (and not the percussive low G notes).  This is not easy, but worth attempting.

Here is the result:



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