Was Willie Clancy a master piper?
I was listening this morning to Clare FM’s broadcast from Willie Week, and they played a recording of his playing of Down the Back Lane.
It struck me that his playing is not terribly rhythmic. He seems to slow down for the faster and more difficult parts, the ornamentation (cuts etc but also the regulators) seems to get in the way of the flow of the tune, and perhaps his timing is also affected by the pumping of the bellows. It’s like the pipes are partly in charge of the music, rather than the man playing them.
For the rest of the morning I’ve been listening to his playing on “The Gold Ring” CD. To my ear, a lot of the playing has the same faults.
I gather he was a nice man and an educator and a great champion of the music, but do people, and particularly pipers, really see his playing as a good model? Am I missing something? Was he not on top form on some of the “Gold Ring” recordings?