Last time we looked at the music of Edward Elgar of England. Did you know he was a big fan of Scottish composer Alexander Mackenzie (1847–1935)? Mackenzie is not well known today compared to composers such as Elgar, but during his time, he was well-received. He grew up surrounded by music, beginning to play violin at a young age and then moving onto composition. He was known for his operas, oratorios, orchestral works, and chamber pieces.
Today, let’s look at Mackenzie’s Pibroch Suite, a piece titled for theme and variation music written for Scottish bagpipes. This piece was dedicated to Pablo de Sarasate, who requested a piece that reflected Mackenzie’s native land. The piece includes Celtic characteristics including Scotch snaps and theme and variations on several traditional Scottish tunes including “There’s Three Good Fellows Down in Yon Glen.”