Music Programme Notes
arr. J Kappay
Hielanâ Laddie, or Highland Laddie, is a traditional Scottish melody which has had many regimental affiliations across both the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, being used as a Regimental March to this day in places as far flung as Canada, Australia and India. Although the original composer is unknown, the tune to Hielanâ Laddie is first found in a 1692 manuscript, before appearing again in 1701 under the name of Cockle Shells. Although a slightly different tune to the one we play today the tune is first referred to as The Highland Laddie in 1710.
Also known as the popular folk song If Thouâlt Play Me Fair Playâ, many people have set various words to the tune with the most famous being the poem Highland Laddie by Scotlandâs very own âNational Bardâ, Robert Burns.
Garb of Auld Gaul
It is not known for certain when The Garb of Old Gaul (or âAuldâ Gaul) first became associated with the Scots Guards, but it is known to have been used as a march by the regiment since 1839. Originally a quick march, The Garb of Old Gaul was written by General John Reid, a former officer of the Black Watch who went on to become colonel of the Connaught Rangers. The lyrics to the tune are attributed to Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Erakine, and the tune itself was composed as a rousing patriotic song about Scottish soldiers during the Seven Yearsâ War. Although a very distinguished soldier, Reid was also a proficient flautist and a very keen and able composer, and upon his death he chose to leave his ample fortune to Edinburgh University to allow them to found a chair of music.
The title The Garb of Old Gaul refers to the traditional Highland dress of the Scottish people with Gaul being thought of as the ancient homeland of all Celtic people.
The Hebrides Overture, Opus 26
After a busy concert season in London, Mendelssohn toured Scotland and was so struck by the countryâs rugged beauty that he was inspired to compose two of his most famous works, his Symphony No. 3 in A minor and The Hebrides Overture.Â Â Written in 1829, Mendelssohn perfectly captures the sights and sounds of Fingalâs Cave on the remote Island of Staffa; this ocean-washed cathedral-like basalt cave was home to the legendary giant of Scottish and Irish mythology. The cave was extremely popular with the Romantics of the 19th century and there are literally dozens of paintings and poetic descriptions remaining from the era.Â Sir Walter Scott proclaimed it as "one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld, it exceeded every description I had heard of itâ.
Mendelssohn claimed in a postcard to his sister that the opening theme was jotted down at the mouth of the cave, however his travelling companion, Karl Klingemann, stated that the composer was far too seasick to write anything that day, particularly the beautiful melody that so perfectly captures the wild seas around the North West coast of Scotland.
The Hebrides does not precede a play or opera but is instead a stand-alone composition and is considered to be an early example of a tone poem. The work soon became a standard part of orchestral repertoire and retains that position to the present day. This transcription from 1912 by Dan Godfrey, himself a Bandmaster, perfectly captures the richly atmospheric mood of one of the composerâs most evocative and powerful works, and Mendelssohn could count Queen Victoria and Schumann among its greatest admirers, as well as Wagner who praised the overture as a masterpiece.
S R Hazo
Samuel R Hazo resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a prolific American educator and wind band composer whose works have featured in film and television and were performed at the 2012 London Sumer Olympic Games.
Perthshire Majesty is an original Scottish ballad that finds its musical roots in the heritage of the composerâs friend, David Gregory, the conductor who led the premiere. A gentle, elegant work in a broad, cinematic style, it evolves from an opening phrase by the solo soprano saxophone with an engaging inevitability into a full symphonic wind band, depicting the rolling hills of Perthshire and the majesty of the vast highland mountain ranges beyond.Â Hazoâs writing is beautifully lyrical and perfectly captures the mood.
Commissioned in 2003 by the Tara Winds of Atlanta and the winner of the 2003 William Revelli Composition Award, Perthshire Majesty remains one of the composers most celebrated works and is regularly performed by wind bands around the world.
Crags of Tumbledown Mountain
Pipe Major J Riddell - 2nd Battalion Scots Guards
The Crags of Tumbledown Mountain is a pipe tune with a fascinating history. Composed in 1982 by Pipe Major James Riddell of the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, it commemorates the battle of Tumbledown Mountain.
On the 2nd of April, 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in an attempt to take sovereignty of the archipelago from the United Kingdom.Â The invasion was, in part, an attempt to distract the Argentinian public from domestic issues and generate some national pride.Â The Argentinian Government felt that the British would give up the islands without recourse. They were gravely mistaken. Mount Tumbledown guarded the approach to Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, and its height gave the Argentinian 5th Marine Battalion control of the area. The first attack started at 2030hrs on June 13th and the fighting continued through the night in what was the last battle of the war.Â By 0900hrs the following morning, the mountain had been captured after a fierce fighting and hand to hand combat. After the battle, James Riddell climbed to the top of the mountain and played a tune he had written in commemoration of the event. That tune was âThe Crags of Tumbledown Mountainâ.
Performed here in an arrangement that combines Military Band and Pipes, the reflective start evolving into a march serves as an ideal musical tribute to one of the finest hours of the Regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel D Beat
The quick march âEdinburgh Castleâ has been a firm favourite of the Scots Guards band for many years and is often featured on state occasions, and when the band performs alongside the Pipes and Drums. It was an original composition by the bandâs Director of Music at the time, Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Beat, and was written to commemorate the bandâs long history at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Lieutenant Colonel Beat based the main musical theme around the Burns Poem âDuncan Grayâ, whilst incorporating the famous pipe melody âThe Soldiers Returnâ in the trio. The two themes are cleverly interwoven to create a rich musical tapestry which pays tribute to the Regimentâs Scottish heritage.