Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

HIP folk-inspired music from the Celtic lands

I've always loved Scottish and Irish music, most especially since a fabulous trip to Edinburgh and Islay last fall. So I was pleased to come across this new disc from a favourite group, Les Basses Reunies under Bruno Cocset, from a favourite record company, Alpha. The music is by a favourite Italian composer with strong connections to the British Isles and Ireland, Francisco Geminiani, along with a variety of Scottish and Irish composers. The one I know best is the blind harper Turlough O’Carolan, who has a real gift for melody. This is a fabulous collection all around; the players seem to have a strong feeling for the folk traditions of the Celtic lands as well as a state-of-the-art understanding of Historically Informed Practices in Baroque music. Though the dominant mood is sadness - is there a Scots or Irish equivalent to Brazil's saudade? - there's no lack of variety in textures and tempos, with a variety of both solo instruments (viola, tenor violin, various viols) and continuo (harpsichord, organ and harp) matched to particular songs. Pour yourself an Old Bushmills or a wee dram of Laphroaig, open up your Ossian, and listen.

Here's the trailer for the new disc, due to be release March 24, 2017.

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