Reverend Mr. Patrick MacDonald of Kilmore

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REVEREND Mr. PATRICK MACDONALD OF KILMORE. AKA and see "Cordwainers' March (The)," “Gloomy Winter’s now awa,” “Lord Balgonie's Favorite," "Mr. Nairne's Strathspey.” Canadian, Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. Scottish, Strathspey. A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The tune was claimed and published by Alexander Campbell (1764–1824) in Albyn's Anthology (1815), but his claim to it was undermined by the Gows who published the same melody in Fourth Collection (1800), calling it "Lord Balgonie's Favourite" with a note that it was "A very Old Highland Tune." The air was used by Tannahill for his popular song "Gloomy winter's now awa.'" The Reverend Patrick Macdonald was born in the Manse of Durness, Sutherlandshire, in 1729, the son of a musically inclined father and grandfather. As a child he and his brother were tutored in the violin by the excellent musician Kenneth Sutherland of Cnocbreac, and their sister was reputed to have equaled if not excelled her brothers as an instrumentalist. Brother Joseph, also a skilled bagpiper, left for a post in India but succumbed a few years after his arrival to fever, leaving behind a collection of 86 original airs, but Patrick was educated at the University of Aberdeen and licensed as a preacher. He became the minister of the parish of Kilmore which he headed for 69 years, married and with his wife Barbara raised a large family, dying in 1824. John Glen (1891) remarks:

His ministerial office appears to have deterred him from becoming a bagpipe player like his brother Joseph, but in his handling of the violin, he is acknowledged to have been unexcelled among his presbyterial brethren. An anecdote is related of him, that being in Edinburgh on one occasion as a member of the General Assembly of the Church, he was urged by Stabilini (who was indisposed) to act as his substitute for the evening. He agreed to do so, and it is said that he executed his part so well that his audience were charmed and delighted. It is also said that there was some talk of his clerical brethren taking him to task for this performance in a playhouse, but that the general esteem in which he was held saved him from being brought to book.

The tune has several names, the earliest in print being "Cordwainers' March (The)", a trade march from James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs vol. 1 (1782). Daniel McLaren included it in his 1794 Collection as "Mr. Nairne's Strathspey", and the Gows in their Fourth Collection (1800) as "Lord Balgonie's Favorite." The melody was used as the vehicle for Robert Tannahill's song "Gloomy Winter's now awa."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 95, p. 156.

Recorded sources:




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