This article was published in Piping Today magazine in 2004 and featured a concert where all the pipes played in the concert were made by Hamish and Fin Moore. The concert was in Pitlochry Town Hall in 2003 which was recorded by Greentrax and released as an album called The Piper & The Maker. The original album is available here.
A follow up album, The Piper and The Maker II, was released in May of this year featuring Moore pipes in the key of C, and more information can be found here.
February 2004 #08
By Mike Paterson
The idea was to present in concert a group of leading players performing on pipes from the same maker’s workshop, and to record the event for commercial release.
Organised by Dunkeld-based bagpipes maker Hamish Moore and Greentrax Recordings, with sponsorship from the Edradour Distillery, the concert took place at the Pitlochry Town Hall on October 31, 2003 — on the eve of the Glenfiddich Piping Championship at nearby Blair Castle.
A line-up of Fin Moore, Iain MacInnes, brothers Iain and Allan MacDonald, Gordon Duncan, Angus MacKenzie, Gary West, Duncan MacGillivray, Malcolm Robertson and Angus MacKenzie played Scottish smallpipes, reel pipes and Border pipes, all made by Hamish and Fin Moore. The ensuing album will also include Martyn Bennett, Anna Murray and Graham Mulholland who were unable to take part in the concert. The hall was packed to capacity.
“I was stunned by the response,” said Hamish Moore. “We had some people who were in Pitlochry because they were also going to the Glenfiddich. But we also had people come from all over Scotland, from the north, from the Borders, the west coast. We had eight pipers from North Berwick, a minibus from Penicuik, a minibus from Northern Ireland; we had people fly in from Brittany, and others from the south of France, coming specifically for the concert. It shows this whole renaissance has captured people’s imagination.
“It was not something I’d really expected. We put the word out and it just happened – and people had been clamouring for tickets for a month. It was obviously the right thing at the right time.
“And it was a great night of music and very entertaining.” And there were surprises, the first when Fin Moore was joined on stage by step dancer Frank McConnell of Dannsa and by Simon Bradley on fidddle. Iain MacDonald was accompanied by Malcolm Stitt on guitar, and Cape Bretoner Angus McKenzie was joined by fiddler Gabe MacVarish.
Hamish Moore said he would like to make the concert an annual event, developing the theme of the piper and the maker further — “but involving all of the great makers, and the ones who aren’t around any more.
“We could have a night of Henderson drones, a night of Lawries, and we could feature contemporary makers who are making different sorts of Scottish pipes, even different European pipes. There are endless possibilities of what we could do with the them of the piper and the maker.”
The range of repertoire and styles played on the night was very interesting. “What I found lovely was that, although I made all the pipes they all sounded so different,” said Hamish Moore. “They take on the personality of the player; the players adjust them to their own ways and play in their own style. People are exploring their own styles through their own personalities and through their own pipes.
“Maybe we’ll start to have regional styles again in Scotland.”
There was a time, 20 years ago, when Hamish Moore was one of the very few smallpipes players performing in public. In fact there were very few instruments around to be played.
“Now you can have this array of great players all on one night – and this was just a wee bit of what’s going on,” he said.
“It’s been the most amazingly accelerated revival over the short space of 20 years and everyone has embraced it with such passion. It’s wonderful.
“And it was wonderful for me that the players supported me. They just got behind it and came up with the goods in a very wholehearted and sincere way.”
Hamish Moore’s son, Fin, is now in international demand as a performer and teacher. Late last year, he also became a fully-fledged partner in his father’s pipe making business.
“Fin’s demonstrated that he wants to carry it on to the next generation, which is a fantastic feeling for me — that a son would want to do something like that, and do it so well with such skill and patience,” said Hamish Moore.
“It’s not detracting from my appreciation of all the work done by the other guys who’ve supported me over the years to say that our father-son partnership helps me feel the whole thing is progressing on a solid base.
“We feel, for example, that we can now take some time off to tour, in Fin’s case, and, in my case, to do a lot more research and development … even have a couple of holidays.”