Highland Cathedral - bagpipes & brass band

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Redhorn, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. Redhorn

    Redhorn New Member

    We're putting on a concert in a months time featuring music from around the world. One of the pieces we want to perform is 'Highland Cathedral'. We thought it would be quite effective if a bagpiper was to join us on stage and play it, accompanied by the band.

    Does anyone know about the logistics of doing this?
    What key would the band parts have to be in in order for this to work? (I understand bagpipes have limited numbers of notes, ie no sharps apart from f and c)
    Is there a 'ready made' arrangement available that is tried and tested with bagpipes?

    I have an mp3 file of Govan band playing one, arranged by Allan Ramsay. Is this arrangement available, commercially or otherwise?
  2. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Kingdom Brass have recorded it recently with A. N. Other recording company (do they exist? :wink:)...I believe that's got a piper on it.
  3. pegleg

    pegleg Member

    Highland Cathedral

    Just want to let you know that we have featured this piece for several years. We have a good 2nd Baritone player, Jack Bernard, who also doubles as a great bagpiper. Older arrangement by M. Korb. Several versions have been done, such as the one by Allan Ramsay as well as one by Dragon Music Publishers' David Lancaster.
  4. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    We recorded the David Lancaster one with Bagpipes last year.

    HANNAH Member

    we played the David Lancaster arrangement with bagpipes at a concert a few months ago, it didn't present any problems
  6. midlandbass

    midlandbass Member


    I remember playing a version of this some years ago at a wedding - really effective. I would guess that Thoresby would have it in their library as that was the band I was with at time.

    Best of Luck

  7. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    Dont do it!!!! And im a scotman too, its a terrible dour tune!!!

    Seriously tho, theres a thread already about some time ago, do a search and find it. Theres a few different arragements, we've got our own one, but as said before theres the Ramsay one, and the Lancaster one. Theres also Simon Kerwin arrangement too, and maybe others, cant mind!

    Get your ear plugs ready...!!
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2006
  8. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Available from Dragon Music Publishing! It comes with bagpipe part (optional!) and works with between 1 and - well, more bagpipes than you'd really want to think about.

  9. be prepared to dent all the bands instruments to get the tuning right bagpipes are sooo sharp
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  10. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    A lovely piece, but make sure that the Piper can read music!

    The piper that I contacted knew the piece "off by heart", but when asked to transpose it to the same key as the band, and it all came unstuck!

    But then the piece has it written in for a euph to play the bagpipe part....

  11. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    The pipes can only play it in one key so that shouldn't be an issue; most pipers will play it from memory but I wanted to include a pipe part for the sake of completeness!

  12. pegleg

    pegleg Member

    Highland Cathedral

    I believe that alanl58 is a little mistaken; it appears that the Lancaster arrangement has the melody in the Flugel (and then Solo Cornet). I am quite sure that the Korb arrangement has the Euphonium playing a counter-melody; so that would only leave the Ramsay arrangement or Kerwin arrangement as the only possible Euphonium part playing the melody.
  13. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Simon's arrangement was featured at the 2003 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain Gala Concert with the Scottish Co-op and lone bagpiper. It worked tremendously (look I know I'm biased!! but it did work great!).
  14. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    ...and the Lancaster arrangement has been played by the New York Staff Band of the SA! I'm also biased!:cool: (Pls send my regards to Simon - hope all is going well for you DU! Cheers David)
  15. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    The Simon Kerwin arrangement has the bagpipes cued for the Euphonium. The David Lancaster arrangement has therm cued for the flugel horn.

  16. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    As long as the Bb players are playing in the key of F major, the Eb players are playing in the key of C Major, your audience is tone deaf, there is no-one in the audience with dodgy hearing aids and there are no dogs within a radius of a square mile of your performance, then you should be alright!

    PS - check your piper can count to four in the bar - they are notoriously bad at all things musical - maybe that's why they sound so good with brass bands!
  17. Redhorn

    Redhorn New Member

    So ive heard! :)

    I think we're going to either dispense with the piece, or use the Andrew Duncan (ie non- bagpipe) version as its quite nice.
    Unfortunately it seems Bagpipe players are more mercenary than even cornet players! The minimum quote ive had from all of them is 175 quid for the gig- a lot of money for a piece that only lasts 3 minutes.
    Thank God for video files and powerpoint! :)
  18. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    I think they must come cheaper in Scotland we got one for a £5 for 5 mins. Killamarsh visited Scotland at the end of May and we were having lunch at a hotel in The New Lanark World Heritage site. Timbloke and Yorkshirepudding were sat together on a centre table which looked nice and romantic and as I past their table on the way to the bar I mentioned that all they needed was a violinist to make the romantic mood complete.

    As I past through the bar there was a piper waiting to play at a wedding elsewhere in the hotel and for a £5 he agreed to play for our party - however in view of the comments I had just made to Tim and Claire I persuaded him to focus his performance on their table :) . Perfection.

    Asked him to play Highland Cathedral but as that was going to be used at the wedding he played something more suitable - Scotland the Brave I think.
  19. bruceg

    bruceg Active Member

    Dispensing with the piece is probably your best plan. Followed by gathering up every copy in existence and burning then in one massive bonfire. Highland Cathedral must surely be the worst piece of music ever written, especially when you have either a piper accompanying a brass band or two pipers playing it together (they might be in tune for a wee while but just wait for the high notes).

    Three Scottish replies now and none of them favourable :D

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