The Big Music Society is a project aimed at furthering piobaireachd or Ceol Mor (the classical music of the scottish highland bagpipe) and bringing it into new settings and on to different stages. Mostly an art form that now resides purely on the competition field, it was once a music that served a vital purpose in celebrating occasions, lamenting loses and marking important events in time. I was delighted to be approached by the creators of the project, Calum Maccrimmon and John Mulhearn, to help orchestrate some of these tunes for string quartet and world renowned bagpiper Murray Henderson. It was a real learning curve for me, one in which allowed me to get really deep into the music. Through the guidance of Murray, Calum and John I attempted to draw out the intrinsic character of the pieces and amplify the emotional effect of the melodies through harmony. It was also interesting for me to look at the rhythmical aspects of these tunes, as they generally exist outside of any timing restraints, so how can you put these tunes into some kind of meter?
Read more about the project: www.pipesdrums.com/article/big-music-society-plans-to-create-new-opportunities-for-ceol-mor/
At the 2015 Scots Trad Music Awards we were given the opportunity to perform one of the pieces that really came together well (Lament for Hugh). The performance features Murray Henderson on pipes, Calum and John on Vocals, myself on Bass, Megan Henderson and Mhairi Mackinnon on violin and Susan Appelbe on Cello. It was broadcast on BBC Alba and you can watch the full piece over here: