Highland Cathedral composer pens sequel 40 years on

German composer Michael Korb created the iconic tune in 1982 for a Highland Games event in Germany.

Highland Cathedral composer pens sequel 40 years on Getty Images

The German composer of Scottish anthem Highland Cathedral revealed he has penned a sequel – more than 40 years later.

Michael Korb created the iconic tune in Berlin in 1982 with fellow composer Uli Roever for a Highland Games event in Germany.

The song became popular in the mid-1980s after being recorded by the Royal Highland Fusiliers when they were stationed in Berlin.

Its popularity soared after featuring in blockbuster movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, and was played at Madonna’s wedding to Guy Ritchie in the Highlands.

It was touted as an ‘alternative national anthem’ to rival Flower of Scotland, with a Scottish tenor, Ben Kelly, penning lyrics to accompany the original tune.

Highland Cathedral is now regularly performed by pipe bands at sporting events and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Mr Korb has now joined forces with Yorkshire-born composer and musician, Ian Macpherson, to create a sequel, Highland Nocturne.

The composer said the new song is inspired by the ‘ancient castles and misty lochs’ of the Scottish Highlands.

He hopes it will emulate the worldwide success of Highland Cathedral and be adopted by piping groups, big bands and orchestras.

Mr Korb said: “Ian and I have worked on several musical projects over the years.

“This new work is inspired by the ancient castles and misty lochs of the Highlands.

“It’s a haunting melody, full of atmosphere, energy and emotion, and brings together contemporary and traditional sounds.”

Korb began playing the bagpipes in 1975 and took lessons with the pipe major of a Scottish army battalion stationed in Berlin., it was reported.

He later moved to Edinburgh to pursue his passion for the instrument and took daily lessons with tutor Paddy Atkinson.

Mr Korb played in his garden during the day, and heading to woodland areas in the evening to avoid disrupting his neighbours.

But it was not until he had moved back to Berlin that he met Uli Roever, a composer, arrange and sound engineer.

Korb said: “We tried to make experiments with the bagpipes, wrote a lot of tunes and produced a few records together.

“I had the first idea for Highland Cathedral and we developed the tune together in his studio.

“We released it as a single in 1982 and were convinced of its success.

“A lot of people think it’s Scottish and it’s now found its way into the hearts of people all over the world.

“Its success is totally unbelievable, but I’m very happy with it, as it is a message of my love for Scotland.

“I have been ten times to the wonderful city Edinburgh with its friendly people and I will never forget the goosebumps effect of the Tattoo on me.”

The tune was played during the ceremony to mark the final day of British rule in Hong Kong in 1997, and Mr Korb hopes the sequel will be equally as popular.

Co-creator Mr Macpherson said: “At the age of 16 I joined the army as a musician and enlisted into The Band of The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment).

“It was there that I was introduced to Highland Cathedral.

“I have known Michael since 2012.

“I first contacted him to let him know how much I liked Highland Cathedral.

“It’s one of my favourite pieces of music of all time.

“I asked Michael if he would consider working on composing music with me at some stage in the future.

“We’ve been friends and have been co-writing music ever since.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code