In Scotland the bagpipe is first recorded in the 16th century during the reign of James I, who was a very good player, and probably did much to make it popular. For long it has been considered a national Scottish instrument.
They wouldn't all come, year after year, to a city bursting to capacity if they didn't find the journey eminently worth-while. They find in Edinburgh Festival the great orchestras and soloists of the world, with top-class opera thrown in; famous ballet companies, art exhibitions and leading drama; the Tattoo, whose dramatic colour inspires many a hurried claim to Scottish ancestry.
Post-war years have witnessed a significant increase in the number of festivals of music and drama though not enough has been done to involve the general public in these activities. Some of the festivals, however, are widely popular and it is with these that the book deals. A number of other festivals of music and drama, less well known but sufficiently important to be mentioned, are also included in the list below.
The first season scored a considerable success. The repertoire consisted of an old English comedy, a SIXTEENTH - century tragedy and a production of Chekhov's “Uncle Vanya” in which every part was taken by a top star.
The bagpipe consists of a reed pipe, the ‘ chanter ’, and a windbag, which provides a regular supply of air to the pipe. The windpipe is filled either from the mouth or by a bellows, which the player works with his arm. The chanter has a number of holes or keys by means of which the tune is played.
The White Tower was built by William the Conqueror to protect and control the City of London. It is the oldest and the most important building, surrounded by other towers, which all have different names.
The latest festival town to join the list is Chichester, which has earned a great deal of prestige by building, in record time, a large theatre holding over one thousand five hundred people. Here will be held each year a theatre festival in which many stars from the London stage will be eager to participate.
Under the artistic direction of Sir Michael Tippett, composer, conductor and one of the greatest minds in British music today, the festival presents a programme of orchestral and choral concerts, song and instrumental recitals and chamber music, so well suited to the beautiful 18th - century halls of Bath. The range of music included is wide and young performers are given opportunities to work with some of the leading names in their fields.
The Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales is held annually early in August, in North and South Wales alternately, its actual venue varying from year to year. It attracts Welsh people from all over the world. The programme includes male and mixed choirs, brass-band concerts, many children's events, drama, arts and crafts and, of course, the ceremony of the Crowning of the Bard.
But the festival is not all music. The programme usually includes lectures and exhibitions, sometimes ballet, opera, drama, or films, as well as tours of Bath and the surrounding area and houses not normally open to the public, often a costume ball, maybe poetry - the variety is endless.
The Beatles, with their style of singing new and exciting, their wonderful sense of humour became the most successful pop group the world has ever known. Many of the famous songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney are still popular. Some of the more recent rock groups are Eurhythmics, Dire Straits, and Black Sabbath.
The Promenade concerts are probably the most famous. They were first held in 1840 in the Queen's Hall, and later were directed by Sir Henry Wood. They still continue today in the Royal Albert Hall. They take place every night for about three months in the summer, and the programmes include new and contemporary works, as well as classics. Among them are symphonies and other pieces of music composed by Benjamin Britten, the famous English musician.
Rock and pop music is extremely popular, especially among younger people. In the 60s and 70s groups such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd became very popular and successful.
The ravens whose forefathers used to find food in the Tower still live here as part of its history. There is a legend that if the ravens disappear the Tower will fall. That is why the birds are carefully guarded.