Martyn Bennett's composition for pipes, clarsach and orchestra was written for the students of the City of Edinburgh Music School and in honour of the late Dr. Kenneth A Mackay of Badenoch. A beautiful piece of work that was first performed in 1999 at the opening of the Scottish Parliament by Broughton High School. It was then recorded the morning after Martyn's death by the young people of Broughton High who never knew that Martyn had passed away, the news being kept back until after the recording. This is Martyn's final recorded work.
The CD is dedicated to Martyn Bennett - a passionate and innovative genius, a generous warm soul, and a true friend. Martyn died on 30th January 2005, following a long struggle with cancer.
Based around the theme and first variation of the piobaireachd 'Lament For Mary MacLeod', it explores the possibilities of pipe music as a basis for contemporary music. It was named Mackay's Memoirs after reading Dr Mackay's medical and personal journals written during his post as Free Church of Scotland missionary general practitioner in Moyobamba, Peru. The piece opens with Psalm 121 and features the pipes of both countries, along with voices, clarsach and the classical orchestra.
Martyn Bennett writes:
"I was very fortunate to have met Kenneth shortly before his death and managed to receive a couple of lessons from him concerning Ceol Mor (literally the 'Big Music' or piobaireachd as it is more commonly known.) I played 'Lament For Mary MacLeod' to him as it was one of his favourites and he had a brilliant mind for structures and form of which piobaireachd can be highly complex. He held the music of the pipes to be charged with the emotions of the landscape and was especially moved by the music of the Hebrides. I am very honoured to have been asked to write this piece for the talented students of the City of Edinburgh Music School and I hope that most of all this is an apt celebration of youth that will see our heritage firmly united for generations to come."