Any artist creates based on their own experiences and influences. Many will seek to develop new ideas evolving from the art which inspires them. Stravinsky developed tonal and rhythmic ideas from Rimsky-Korsakov, for example. Others will clinically remove the factors they enjoy the most from their favourite art and layer them with new tonality or musical context such as the Rolling Stones and The Beatles lifting the groove from American blues and turning it into ‘pop’ music.
In Davie Hunter’s new collection, Now It’s My Turn we can see factors of both forms of creative development. Now It’s My Turn boasts 54 tunes covering marches, strathspeys and reels, jigs, hornpipes, waltzes and a suite to cap it all off at the end. The suite – The Missing Piece – is reminiscent of the works of Mary-Ann MacKinnon in the 1980s and 90s. The two-bar phrasing around B minor and A major follow a classic pipe band pattern but the syncopation developments in the middle of the 2/4 section add that colour of intensity and tension that keeps a listener’s ear engaged throughout the longer performances. Concluding in jig time, The Missing Piece is dramatic and exciting in final delivery but also proves to be straight forward enough for less experienced pipers to be able to perform without too great a strain.
Other notable pieces are the 4/4 march, Peter Wood of St. Ninian’s Cottage, a tribute to Peter who performed online for 150 days in a row during the pandemic and kept us all so entertained. Melbourne Bound, a tune about a trip that never happened, is a very enjoyable 16 bar reel with a Mark Saul edge to it while still remaining within a more Scots tonality. The jig Downtown Party Bus offers an amusing tale and a unique third bar rhythm pattern that breaks the standard groove of the jig and uses decoration to highlight the melody percussively.
Davie is maybe best known for graphic design work on many other composer’s tune books. The title of the collection, Now it’s my turn reflects this perfectly.
The book was, of course, designed by Davie. It features illustrations from Ben Blakie, a foreword by piping legend Fred Morrision and was proofread diligently by Lorne MacDougall.
There are lots of very enjoyable tunes in Davie’s collection and I would encourage you to pick it up. Any collection is a biography of sorts where the composer details the personal history of their musicianship in music. Davie’s adventures in piping have obviously been of great pleasure to him and I feel that comes across in the product.