Tag Archives: Bagpipes

In Extremo and Walther

Recent interchanges between medieval music and heavy metal open new perspectives on historically informed practice. A comparison of recordings of Walther von der Vogelweide’s Palästinalied by Thomas Binkley, Paul Hillier, and In Extremo illuminates how historic orientation and its inherent sense influence performance aesthetics.

This according to “Gothic und HIP: Sinn und Präsenz in populären und in historisch informierten Realisierungen des Palästinalieds” by Konstantin Voigt (Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis XXXII [2008] pp. 221–234). Above, a portrait of the great Minnesinger; below, In Extremo’s historically informed rendition of Walther’s celebrated work about the Crusades.

Related article: Advanced musicology

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Filed under Curiosities, Middle Ages, Performance practice, Popular music, Reception

The D-Day piper

Bill Millin was a 21-year-old private in Britain’s First Special Service Brigade when his unit landed at the front chosen by the Allies for the invasion on 6 June 1944. He was approached shortly before the landings by the brigade’s commanding officer, who asked him to play on the beachhead to raise morale.

While German troops raked the area with artillery and machine-gun fire, Millin marched and played as his fellow soldiers advanced on the German positions through smoke and flame, or fell on the beach. The scene provided an emotional high point in Darryl F. Zanuck’s film The longest day.

This according to “Bill Millin, Scottish D-Day piper, dies at 88” by John F. Burns (The New York times, 20 August 2010). Above, Millin entertains his colleagues a few days after the momentous battle; below, the sequence from The longest day.

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Filed under Curiosities