Prose & SongCorrespondence & Poetry

Lamentation for Abercarney

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SMM 195 Where braving angry winter’s storms
Neil Gow’s Lamentation for Jas. Moray Esqr. of Abercarney
Niel Gow First Book of Niel Gow’s Reels, 2d edition 1801

In its original version from A Collection of Strathspey Reels of 1788, Niel Gow’s Lamentation for his patron James Moray of Abercarney (now Abercairny in Perthshire) is a tune of real desolation above a stark drone-like bass. The more familiar version heard here is from the second edition of the book (published after Burns’s death): Niel’s son Nathaniel has smoothed out the tune’s wildness and pain, and set it to a flowing bassline to make it more idiomatic for Edinburgh New Town’s pianos.

David McGuinness, November 2016



Lamentation for Abercairney (373 downloads )

Aaron McGregor, violin
David McGuinness, square piano by Muir, Wood & Co., Edinburgh c.1815

Recorded by Neil McDermott
Produced by David McGuinness

Recordings ©2016 Concerto Caledonia

Licensed to University of Glasgow for non-commercial use by the Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century project, and associated projects