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Highland Cathedral


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I took it down from YouTube the first time I needed it. I once played for a wedding at Bangor Parish Church, Co. Down, when two pipers took part (pretty devastating - asked to provide 'backing', I found that I could use nearly all the very hefty big 3m Hunter and not drown them out! Beforehand, finding out what we were going to play, one of them said, '"Highland Cathedral" - you probably won't know that one.' I said, 'I not only know it, I used to be Organist there!' Not many people could have said that (I think there are four people living who are, or were, Organist at St. Magnus Cathedral).

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I took it down from YouTube the first time I needed it. I once played for a wedding at Bangor Parish Church, Co. Down, when two pipers took part (pretty devastating - asked to provide 'backing', I found that I could use nearly all the very hefty big 3m Hunter and not drown them out! Beforehand, finding out what we were going to play, one of them said, '"Highland Cathedral" - you probably won't know that one.' I said, 'I not only know it, I used to be Organist there!' Not many people could have said that (I think there are four people living who are, or were, Organist at St. Magnus Cathedral).

So why didn't you use all the organ? I'd rather hear the Bangor PC organ than bagpipes any day!

 

I didn't know the "Highland Cathedral" was St Magnus.

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Hi

 

Part of the melody is set to a hymn in one of the more recent Scottish hymnbooks. It was written for the Bible Society a few years back - and someone there kindly sent me a scan of the relevant page. We used it a few times.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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In one establishment, I had a candidate who performed on Didgeridoo in one of her compositions.

 

In another- and in the same year- there were first studies on Highland Bagpipes (a youth national prize-winner), Accordion and Theatre Organ. Sadly (or, perhaps, fortunately), they never combined in a Hoffnung-esque panoply of reediness.

 

On a trip to Brittany, I once attended a recital of Organ and Bombarde (a shawm). I was unable to last until the interval: it was akin to being inside the organ at Liverpool, during repeated endings of Cocker played on the Tuba Magna !

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I have such a Bombarde, but I've never tried playing it with organ. I can, however, play "Mattachins" (the tune Warlock uses for the last movement of 'Capriol') on the tenor crumhorn while accompanying myself with left hand and pedal, a feat that was, I believe, specifically condemned by the Spanish Inquisition in the sixteenth century.

 

Brides at St. Magnus Cathedral used to like to be piped out, which was ok for the organist because it meant an early getaway (sometimes making up for said bride's extreme lateness caused by her renting the only Model T Ford on the island, a temperamental machine with tracker action, much given to breaking down). The custom was banned for a while after the piper (who happened to be the Minister's son) played out one happy couple with "Cock O' the North".

 

I am by no means sure that the (German) composers of Highland Cathedral had St. Magnus in mind, but everyone in Orkney assumed they did (well, they would, wouldn't they?). I suppose Dunkeld would be a more suitable candidate. After all, Orkney is only part of Scotland because of an unpaid marriage dowry and is more Norse than Scottish (as shown in the enormous 'No' vote in the recent referendum. Deo gratias the rest of Scotland voted 'No' by a big enough margin, too), whereas Dunkeld is really in the Highlands.

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