John Angus Smith Recital by Tom Curd
April 2, 2014
The first SPSL recital of the year has now been ticked off of my list and what an enjoyable evening it was. Most got there a little early but, as with every piping evening, there is always a lot of nattering and catching up to do before settling down to what is in store for us.
The night started off with some very tuneful marches that are not played too often, then into a set of Gaelic Airs and foot tapping Jigs, followed by some competition sets and Gaelic Hymns. As with all the tunes throughout the night, John Angus gave us all a taste of background knowledge and history for each tune which could be about the composer or the reason behind the name of the tune. But my favourite was the story behind ‘Chloe’s Passion for Willie John MacAulay’ and that the painting the tune is based on can be found in the Young and Jackson Pub in Melbourne. Of course it was not enough just to teach us all about these fascinating facts, but we were tested on it too. John Angus wrote a quiz for the intermission and tested us on the information he spoke of throughout the recital. To his surprise, we were all listening!
After the quiz, and another chance for a chat and a drink, the second half of John Angus’ performance was underway. It started off with some more musical marches and Gaelic based tunes, including more music I had never heard before. Now the pipes were settled, John Angus accelerated his fingers and gave us a set of intricate and difficult strathspeys and reels followed by some well-known hornpipes. Once he caught his breath back, the night ended on one of my favourite piobaireachds, The Big Spree, and followed by an emotional slow air, Samantha’s Lullaby.
The night was full of interesting tunes with fascinating facts, including the extra discussion about the current set up of his pipes and all the great pipers who have taught and influenced John Angus throughout his piping life.
Thank you to the SPSL for organising the event and a special thank you to John Angus for his performance.