St Bride's: Music - Walker Rowlands - Uilleann and Border pipes

Updated 08/09/20: St Bride's Church is open for general visiting and prayer. There is a weekly 11am Sunday Choral Eucharist and recitals resume from 11th September. Choral services and lunchtime recitals also remain available online. NB: Face coverings in places of worship are a legal requirement. Further Information →

St Bride's: Music - Lunchtime Recitals

Walker Rowlands - Uilleann and Border pipes

Tuesday, 20 October at 1:15pm - FREE ADMITTANCE - Retiring Collection

Walker Rowlands - Uilleann and Border pipes

Traditional Irish

The Fairy Troop

William Vickers (c. 1770) arr. Rowlands

Haul away the Hauser

Nicolas Chédeville (published Paris 1739)

Sonata no. 3, op. 8

('The German Sonata' from

'Les Galanteries amusantes, sonates à deux musettes')

Traditional Irish arr. Rowlands

A Spailpín a Rún

Michel Corrette (1707 - 1795)

Musette

XBG Lopez arr. Rowlands

San Bieito's March

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689 - 1755)

Rustic Dance

Suite: 'The Bells'

1. John Parry (pre 1841)

Sweetly Rang the Village Bells

2. Anon (pub. S Thompson 1775)

St Bride's Bells

3. T Felton (pub. J Arnold 1786)

Felton's Gavotte (Ring O'Bells)

4. W Vickers (ms. c. 1770) arr. Rowlands

Strike the bell

Walker Rowlands are Christopher Walker and David Rowlands. We decided to use our surnames in this order as a cultural link to Walker Jackson, an old and revered Irish piper and publisher of an early book of tunes for pipes. Chris plays Uilleann pipes by makers Cillian O'Briain, who made the chanter, and Gordon Galloway, an apprentice to Cillian, who made the drones and regulators. These pipes are based on a set by the Taylor Brothers of Philadelphia's Uilleann pipe design which is late nineteenth century. Dave plays Border pipes by Jon Swayne. The pipes are in Flamed Boxwood, with imitation ivory mounts. Boxwood has a bright tone when used for woodwind instruments. Jon Swayne uses modern components in his reed making, resulting in a stable instrument that is a delight to play.

The music we are investigating and playing is largely from the eighteenth century, though the repertoire includes some nineteenth century and contemporary pieces for balance, and because we like them (and hope you will too). The type of bagpipe in use in the C18th was the pastoral pipe, a bellows blown pipe with a range of two octaves. At some point during the century, someone removed the foot joint of the chanter and found that you could now play in a staccato fashion, and that access to the upper octave was improved by being able to close the mouth of the chanter by stopping it on the knee and increase the air pressure. This was the birth of the Irish (Union or Uilleann) Bagpipe.

The trade-off was the loss of a lower 'leading' note, forcing the adaption of many tunes in the process. However, there was a period, before the Pastoral bagpipe finally died out, when both Pastoral and Union were pipes being played together. Two pipes from the same origin, but with different tones and capabilities. This is the sound we are trying to explore. In emulating this we recognise that while Dave's pipes do not have the full range of the Pastoral pipes, the tone is similar enough not to make a great difference to the sound quality. While we have no direct evidence that the two different pipes were played together, it is the way of musicians to get together and play, so we feel that this must have happened. We hope you enjoy the resulting programme.

Walker Rowlands are Christopher Walker and David Rowlands. We decided to use our surnames in this order as a cultural link to Walker Jackson, an old and revered Irish piper and publisher of an early book of tunes for pipes. Chris plays Uilleann pipes by makers Cillian O'Briain. Dave plays Border pipes by Jon Swayne. The music we are investigating and playing is largely from the eighteenth century, though the repertoire includes some nineteenth century and contemporary pieces for balance, and because we like them (and hope you will too).