Harping Bach to Carolan by Anne-Marie O'Farrell
The material in this recording is drawn from a recital in the "Young Musicians in The Drawing Room" series in Number Twenty Nine. The series is presented in association with Feis Ceoil, Dublin and is held each year during Spring and Autumn. In this programme Anne-Marie demonstrates the veratility of the Irish harp, extending the repertoire for the instrument considerably beyond its traditional frontiers.
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1. Sonatina No.2 in F major -J.Dussek
Jan Ladislav Dussek was a Czech pianist and composer whose gift for melody reflects the grace and elegance which typifies the harp music of his time. This sonatina, one of six he wrote for harp in 1799, was transcribed for Irish harp by Ank van Campen.
2. Folia -Anon. XVIIIth century
Originally from Portugal, the folia was a popular musical form in the 18th, frequently used for songs, dances and sets of variations. This example is a minature set of such variations; the lute-like sound is achieved by playing at the bottom of the harp strings, as opposed to the more resonant mid-string position normally used.
3. Silent O Moyle -arr. Anne-Marie
"Silent O Moyle" became known by this title when Thomas Moore (1779-1852)set his poem of the same name to the traditional Irish air,"My Dear Eveleen". This haunting arrangement depicts Lough Moyle-one of the three Irish lakes where the Children of Lir were forced to spend 300 years in the form of swans.
4. The Tailor's Twist & The
Spey in Spate - arr. Anne-Marie O'Farrell
The first of these two rousing dance tunes is a traditional hornpipe. The second is an exuberantly varied Scottish reel, to which an original ending has been added, further extending the wide tange of this bright and colorful piece.
5. Prelude No. 1 in C major - J.S.Bach
Famous perhaps as a result of its association with the Bach/Gounod "Ave Maria", this prelude is originally from Book 1 of "Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Clavier," dating from 1722. Although it was composed for keyboard instruments of the time, such as the harpsichord or clavichord, it transfers easily to the Irish harp, providing a lovely new addition to its repertoire.
6. Variations on a Theme by Mozart - anon.arr.
Odette le Dentu
This splendid set of variations dates from the XVIIIth century. In this arrangement for Irish harp, the opening theme is followed by six variations, each displaying the possibilities of the instrument in a multiplicity of contrasting ways.
7. A Carolan Suite -arr. Anne-Marie O'Farrell
Irish harp music is dominated by the long shadow of the blind harper and composer, Turlough O'Carolan(1670-1738). This suite which captures something of the baroque spirit of the period, comprises two airs by him-"Lady Dillon" and "Brigid Cruise",-and two attributed to him-"Slainte Bhrea Hewlett" and "Blind Mary". In assembling them into a suite, Anne Marie O'Farrell echoes a popular European practice in Carolan's time.
8. Chorale Variations on Deus Meus Adiuva
Based on a hymn tune by the late Sean Og O Tuama, these variations recreate the atmosphere of the original text,written in a 11th century manuscript by Maol Iosa O Brolchain of Armagh.
9. The Knappogue Medley - A.M.O'Farrell
A medley of two totally contrasting tunes-"The Morrison Jig", as played in the medieval castle of Knappogue in Co. Clare, and a lovely slow air, "Fill, fill aRun O"- this arrangement explores the sheer variety of the expressive qualities available to the Irish harp throughout the full register of the instrument.
10. Sonata No.2 in Eb(1st movt) - B.Pollet
Harpist and publisher Benoit Pollet contributed not only to harp repertoire, but also to the evolution of its technique, by develpoing the use of harmonics (a bell-like effect), as can be heard in this delightful example of 18th century music.
11. Passacaglia in Bb - G.F.Handel
Originally from a harpsichord suite, this magnificent passacaglia now takes its place in the repertoire for Irish harp. Although the transcription here (by Tiny Beon) is for pedal harp, it requires virtually no adaptation for performance on the modern Irish harp.
Anne-Marie O'Farrell was born in Dublin, where she began her musical education at the College of Music. Equally at home as a harpist,pianist,singer and composer, she was rapidly recognised as a versatile and accomplished talent with a fresh, innovative approach to the Irish harp. In recent years she has performed throughout Europe and Japan, toured regularly in Germany and the USA with mezzo soprano Aylish Kerrigan, and recorded for television, radio and video productions.
Her dedication to re-establishing the Irish harp as a solo instrument, to finding fresh ways of interpreting the traditional repertoire and expanding it with new material, has won her increasingly favourable critical attention. Celebrated both as a performer and as a highly creative arranger, she has already made a unique contribution to the rediscovery of the possibilities of an instrument whose image has declined into cliche over the years.
The material in this recording is drawn from a recital in the "Young Musicians in The Drawing Room" series in Number Twenty Nine. The series is presented in association with Feis Ceoil, Dublin and is held each year during Spring and Autumn. In this programme Anne-Marie demonstrates the veratility of the Irish harp, extending the repertoire for the instrument considerably beyond its traditional frontiers. Her adoption, for example, of music originally for the pedal harp, lute or 18th century keyboard instruments,is unique among exponents of the Irish harp of this or any other era; and several pieces included in this recording have, because of the instrument's technical limitations, never before been performed on the Irish harp. In these interpretations, however, there is no sense of the instrument's inherent constraints. By using it to capture the fusion of baroque, classical and Irish influences which were so much a part of the musical life in 18th century Dublin, what Anne-Marie O'Farrell has done is to push out the boundaries of the possible, which subtly reinforcing the innate qualities of the instrument.
Manager Number Twenty Nine: Delo Collier
Produced by Anne Marie O'Farrell
Director Feis Ceoil,Dublin: Deidrie Kelleher
Recorded at Park House Recording Studios, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, April 1993
Sound Engineer: Frank McNamara
Harps made by: Jan Muyllaert(track2), Camac Production(all other tracks)
Post Production: Sun Studios, Dublin 2, Trent Studios, Dublin 2.
Cover Photograph: Joe St. Leger
Location:Number Twenty Nine, Lower Fitzwilliam St, Dublin 2.
Inside Photograph: Matt Kavanagh.
|Genre:||Classical / Traditional Irish|