Mrs. Muir MacKenzie
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MRS. MUIR MACKENZIE'S. AKA and see "Captain David Stewart," "Captain David Stewart 42nd Royal Highlander's Reel," “Captain David Stewart 42nd Royal Highlanders Afterwards General Stewart,” “General Stewart,” “Lady Muir MacKenzie.” Scottish, Canadian; Reel. Canada; Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. C Mixolydian (Glen, Gow, Kerr, MacDonald): D Mixolydian (Perlman). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Glen, MacDonald): AA’B (Perlman): AABB' (Kerr). One of the seven compositions by Scottish fiddler William Gow (1751-1791), eldest son of the famous Perthshire fiddler-composer Niel Gow. William led the Edinburgh Assembly Orchestra until his death. It appears, without composer creit, in the 4th collection of Malcolm MacDonald of Dunkeld, a volume dedicated to the Countess of Breadalbane.
Mrs. Muir Mackenzie was Jane Murray (c. 1769), daughter of Sir Robert Murray, Baronet of Clermont, who in 1787 married Sir Alexander Muir (1764-1835), 1st Baronet of Delvine, Ross-shire (Perth), Scotland, who later took the name Muir-Mackenzie. The couple had a son and eight daughters, seven of whom died unmarried. The Muir-Mackenzie family seat, Delvine, was near Niel Gow’s home un Dunkeld, Perthshire, and the estate was once the site of an important Roman military camp (it actually was the northernmost Roman station, a square camp in the meadow in front of the manor, Delvine House). In the mid-19th century, before it was excavated, there were occasional finds there of broken pottery, rusty nails and screws, gravelled roads, and two Roman ovens in a good state of preservation, with the charred wood and soot still visible (The Antiquary, 1901). The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland did finally excavate the site in February of 1901. Upon Sir Alexander’s ascention to the Baronacy in 1805, Jane became known as Lady Muir MacKenzie, under which title there are further tunes composed in her honor.
Perlman (1996) notes this tune is played in a medley following the strathspey “Athole Brose” on Prince Edward Island. The melody is a favorite among Cape Breton fiddlers, who have frequently recorded it.
Source for notated version: Peter Chaisson, Jr. (b. 1942, Bear River, North-East Kings County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman].
Printed sources: Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music), vol. 2, 1895; p. 18. Gow (The Beauties of Niel Gow). Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 3; No. 132, p. 16. MacDonald (A Fourth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1797; p. 13. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 77. Stewart-Roberson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 76.
Recorded sources: ACC-49394, Carl MacKenzie - “Gift of Music.” Celtic CX 44, Winston Fitzgerald - “The Inimitable.”
See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index