January 31, 2012

pipes|drums’ 2011 New Year’s Honours

Product of the Year

The Moidart Collection II – Allan MacDonald – MacDonald’s long-awaited second volume of 100 tunes was released in September and continues his legacy as one of the great composers of our time. In an era of all-electronic, collections on paper are returning to their ultra-select roots in the time of hand-engraved manuscripts. The Moidart Collection II rises above in 2011.

  • “A stand-out collection that will also stand the test of time.”
  • “There are a significant number of gems in this collection that will stand the test of time.”
  • “Quality music throughout.”

Also nominated (in alphabetical order):

Bagpipe Tuner for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch – Murray Blair – the first downloadable mobile electronic tuner that in software application form does away with the need to purchase hardware and puts a quality tuner in the hands of thousands of pipers at an affordable price. A landmark for piping.

Donald MacDonald’s Collection of Piobaireachd Volume 2, Manuscript (1826) – the second gloriously-made collection from the Piobaireachd Society is a work for the ages. In 2011 piobaireachd aficionados reveled in the second Donald MacDonald work.

The Antipodes Collection Volume 3 – Mark Saul – the third volume in the Melbourne piper’s collection of original music came out late in 2011. After almost two decades since the second Antipodes Collection was released, the pent-up demand for book three was great, and Saul delivered.


  1. I’ll try that comment again, can’t you have a pipesdrums book of the year award (any book pipe/drum or pipe band related) and also a separate product award?

  2. While I can see this is rather novel and might interest some, I think it actually serves to do little else but highlight just how small the top of the pyramid is (and that our focus is always up there). With the very rare exception, it’s the ‘same olds’ year after year. Band of the year: FMM. How many ‘experts’ are required to deliberate and agree on that…? It would be better if the ‘panel’ had carte blanche to dissect the year that was and make some statements about what was good, bad or otherwise, and not restricted to the elite level. Some commentary about the grades around the globe – comparisons etc. Readers might benefit a bit more if the expert panel was engaged to express its views on the broader scene, not simply be polled or asked to recite results that we all know already.

  3. Thanks, @uilleannonlooker. If you look back at the awards over the years (see links at article end), you’ll see that some years there are enough books to warrant that. 2011 saw relatively few collections being released. @Lawrie – thanks for your, as usual, frank feedback. Similarly, you’ll see in past years it’s not so straightforward. I agree that a lively debate with a panel of experts on the good and the bad of the year would be fun and enlightening, but the awards are structured as such to make them relatively straightforward. Panelists did in fact mention people, bands, events and products that they thought merited nomination, and, interestingly, every band nominated had at least one vote, so the winner was not unanimous.



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