PS 172 – Lament for the Sword, or The Aged Warrior’s Sorrow (for not being able to wield his sword as formerly)

Here is another tune from the Hannay-MacAuslan collection.

Over the weeks, I will be posting more recordings, until all 10 songs* have been recorded.

Some tunes I will take you through my interpretive process, much as I did for PS 170 (Glengarry’s March).  I probably won’t take you through the level of sausage-making detail I did for that song*, but I think it is important to view the interpretive process:  so often we only encounter these songs* after all the work has been done.  This teaches us very little about what thought went into their interpretation.

Some interpretation is simply mimicry of what other’s have been told are a part of a reception tradition. This is a worthy practice, though it does not advance the art: it holds it in amber.

Other interpretations attempt to re-imagine the social contexts of performance, to reach back to the Gaelic song tradition for inspiration, or to simply bring the performer’s own experience to the piece and see what insights might be brought to the score.

This tune seemed pretty straight-forward to me.  There are a lot of lovely structural parallels in the urlar: question-answer structures, a lovely melodic development in the second part of the piece, then ending on a coda that anticipates the upcoming motion.

I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoy performing it.


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