Search - Janet Harbison, Anonymous, Rudiger Oppermann :: Celtic Harpestry: A Contemporary Celtic Collection

Celtic Harpestry: A Contemporary Celtic Collection
Janet Harbison, Anonymous, Rudiger Oppermann
Celtic Harpestry: A Contemporary Celtic Collection
Genres: Folk, World Music, Jazz, Special Interest, New Age, Soundtracks, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

The pristine tones and lilting melodies of the Celtic harp are immediately inviting. Celtic Harpestry, a companion to a PBS performance special, explores a sound both traditional and modern in a tasteful and evocative coll...  more »

      
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The pristine tones and lilting melodies of the Celtic harp are immediately inviting. Celtic Harpestry, a companion to a PBS performance special, explores a sound both traditional and modern in a tasteful and evocative collection. This isn't a purist's album--half of the harpists aren't even from the Celtic isles, and among the album's old Irish chestnuts is "My Heart Will Go On," the love theme from Titanic. The otherwise-joyful Belfast Harp Orchestra tromp through the James Horner tune, almost pulling some subtlety out of its overwrought themes. Turlough O'Carolan, the blind patron saint of the Celtic harp, might wish he were deaf as well, if he could hear it. But the bard would be thrilled to hear the 12-piece BHO playing the traditional "Brian Boru's Set" or one of founder Janet Harbison's zephyrlike originals. Her "Earth, Water, Wind and Fire" elicits shifting textures and colors that belie their traditional roots. The song also exemplifies the ethereal side of the Celtic harp explored on Celtic Harpestry with artists like Rüdiger Oppermann. Playing a wire-strung harp accompanied by bass and keyboards, the German harpist soars through crystalline melodies whether he's playing traditional tunes or originals. The most traditional sound actually comes from the American players. Cheryl Ann Fulton gives a straight-up rendition of "Breton Medley," and jazz harpist Deborah Henson-Conant is refreshingly restrained, faithfully rendering "Londonderry Aire (Danny Boy)" and "The Minstrel Boy." Although Celtic Harpestry focuses on slow airs, there are robust performances here, including those by Máire Ni Chathasaigh's group and the harp and vocal duo of Sileas. Outside of the Titanic love theme, Celtic Harpestry is an elegantly wrought collection. --John Diliberto

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CD Reviews

Critics can go hang themselves by the gutstrings of this one
04/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I checked out this CD from my local library and I was blown away! The critics who panned "My Heart Will Go On" can just hang their hats on a hook and depart, because it is an appropriate selection. For one thing, the "Titanic" herself was built IN the Belfast shipyards, and as another customer put it, the song is MEANT to make people cry...it's talking about the loss of loved ones...something that EVERYone knows well! (And I agree, Celine Dion did a superb job with the song!)All in all, I love this album!"
A Celtic "Festival of Harps" on CD
06/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of my favorite folk harp albums of any kind, *Celtic Harpestry* is a matchless introduction to the different varieties of Celtic harps (nylon/gut strung, traditional and modern metal strung, and electronic) and Celtic harp music (traditional, modern, and original). As a Celtic harp player myself, I can't praise the concept enough.The co-producer, Diana Stork, also produces the highly successful "Festival of Harps" concert series in the San Francisco Bay Area -- and that background certainly shows in the variety and quality of artists and pieces chosen for the CD. I had the rare privilege of reviewing this CD for the newsletter of the Bay Area Folk Harp Society and the Folk Harp Journal, and am glad to repeat here my high praise for this album (especially since Diane and several performers are my friends).Reluctantly, I must agree that "My Heart Will Go On" is the least good of the tracks -- but its treatment here is traditional and elegant as well as sentimental. (The tune is *meant* to be a tear-jerker, and I happen to love Celine Dion's treatments of it. So there. *Nyaah!*) Everything else here is splendid, though Cheryl Ann Fulton's understated rendition of Breton music is for me the most surprising track on the album.I do like the order of the tracks on the pre-release version better than on the commerical version. (The pre-release version starts with "A Walk Upon Belfast".) Diane agrees with me, but co-producer Dawn Atkinson at Imaginary Road thought a faster track should start the released version. Oh well, anything to get this album into the hands of more people! :-)"
Just lovely!
Brianna Neal | USA | 05/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This uplifting compilation CD from Imaginary Road Records, actually the soundtrack to the public television special "Celtic Harpestry at Lismore Castle, Ireland", is simply beautiful. Especially wonderful are the five numbers by the Belfast Harp Orchestra, an ensemble of 12 harpists who demonstrate remarkable intonation and stunning coordination as they play together on instruments that are difficult enough just to play alone. What a great concept, and what great musicianship! Also featured are individual performers such as Maire Ni Chathasaigh on Irish harp, Rudiger Oppermann on wire-strung harp, Cheryl Ann Fulton on a contemporary lever harp, the harp and song duo Sileas, and Deborah Henson-Conant on a "Camac `Baby Blue' Celtic electroharp". Other instruments, including Uilleann pipes and whistle, violin, viola and concertina, occasionally join in, but the focus is on the harp itself. In all its many forms and combinations, the harpestry on this recording remains soothingly delicate in timbre while at the same time scintillating in technique--in short, a pure delight. If you enjoy "Celtic Harpesty", you're sure to like it's companion release, "Harpestry: A Contemporary Collection", featuring more of a worldwide assortment of harpers. Another great harp compilation CD is "Faces of the Harp" from Narada."