Annotation:Miller of Camserney (The)

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MILLER OF CAMSERNEY, THE. Scottish, Strathspey. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Camserney is a hamlet in Perth and Kinross, near Aberfeldy, and overlooks the River Tay. It was once property anciently owned by the Menzies family. The Gazetteer for Scotland records that "This former crofting township once boasted a meal mill, sawmill, carpet factory and wheel-wright mill that made bobbins for the textile industry of Dundee." The meal mill was the first to be built by the Menzies family on Camserney Burn--it still stands, converted to a private dwelling.

Camserney Mill Farm. The house was built for the family of the miller.

"Miller of Camserney" was composed by Archibald "Archie" Menzies (according to Stewart-Robertson), who was appointed Conductor of the Edinburgh Highland Reel and Strathspey Society in 1889. Upon his death in 1914 he was succeeded to the position by his son, Ian C. Menzies, who held it until his death in 1949. David Baptie (Musical Scotland, 1894) gives this biographical sketch of Menzies:

[He was] born Weem, Perthshire, 1846. An excellent and enthusiastic amateur violinist and most genial and popular gentleman, who is a fine specimen of the Highland chief. While yet a lad the family removed to Edinburgh, at some of the principal schools and university of which city he received his education. He had no musical instruction, however, save the ordinary school lessons in vocal music, so he is virtually a self-taught musician. At about fourteen or fifteen he began to study the violin by the aid of books, and also profited by a keen observance of other players. He became a member (and in some cases conductor) of orchestral and vocal societies, and the varied practice acquired in this way did much to increase his knowledge of music and of the family of stringed instruments. As a player it may be said of him he is equally at home with violin, viola, or double bass, and is well known throughout and beyond Edinburgh. Since 1880 especially he has exerted himself in promoting the playing of Highland dance music, in which he takes a deep interest, and since the formation of the Edinburgh Highland Reel and Strathspey Society has devoted much of his spare time to its work. All the music played by that society at their concerts was arranged by Mr. Menzies for violin, viola, 'cello, and contra bass, comprising of at least 250 reels and strathpseys. He acted as secretary of the society for a few years, and latterly was appointed conductor. He also plays the bagpipes, and has frequently been judge at Highland gatherings for pipe music. Mr. Menzies has composed several strathspeys and reels which are played in private circles with much acceptance, but few of these are yet published. In 1890 he organized a band of more than fifty performers, who gave six concerts at the Edinburgh Exhibition of that year, on which occasions the Grand Hall was filled to overflowing. Mr. Menzies, we believe, has a number of prizes and two medals for strathspey-playing. He was long and enthusiastic volunteer, holding now the rank of major, and is known as the Queen's Prizeman of 1873. [p. 128].

This Archie Menzies is not the person for whom Joseph Lowe wrote "Archie Menzies", one of his most popular compositions (with "Rachael Rae"). See Annotation:Archie Menzies for more on that composition.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 140. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 40.

Recorded sources:

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