Battle of the Somme (The)
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BATTLE OF THE SOMME, THE. Scottish, Retreat March (9/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. This pipe tune, a retreat from Army Manual (Book 2) and composed by William Laurie/Lawrie (1882-1916) commemorates one of the greatest and most terrible battles of World War I. Jack Campin remarks that Laurie "just lived to see it become an immediate success before dying of his wounds a few months later." "The retreat march is not necessarily a march time tune which would be marched to," explains Stuart Eydmann; rather, "as often as not it was played as part of the evening ritual in military camps as day duties gave way to night ones. It was not linked to the military manoeuvre of retreating in or from battle but was linked to the idea of refuge and safety in the camp." The tune is sometimes heard as a slow air, after the fashion of the Albion Country Band's interpretation, no doubt engendered by the horrible human outcome in terms of loss of life. See also note for "Paps of Glencoe" for more on Lawrie.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Gatherer (Gatherer's Musicial Museum), 1987; p. 20. Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 2), 1988; p. 39.
Recorded sources: Front Hall FHR-024, Fennig's All-Star String Band - "Fennigmania" (1981. Learned from the Albion Country Band).