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The Best of Irish Piping

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Nov. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Tara
  • ASIN: B000001JA7
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,641 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Double CD collection from one of Ireland's very best pipers. Includes the greatest versions of "The Pure Drop" and "The Fox Chase".

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
`When I hear Seamus', writes Liam O'Flynn in his introduction, `I know I am listening to the old pipers, as distinct from a rendering on a woodwind instrument'. There is certainly a world of difference between the full, grainy sound here and the glib effect produced by the typical modern piper. Ennis' playing had a studied, slightly pedantic quality; he had all the technique but apparently saw no need to be flashy, and the proportion of reels is much lower than you would expect today. Ennis seems to have been most taken not with the barnstorming tunes but the ones with plenty of interesting twists, and these are present in abundance. Topping the lot is an epic ten-minute version of `The Fox Chase' - brilliant, though I think I detect an edit just before the final section.

There are a couple of peculiarities. The title is certainly misleading, implying as it does a compilation; in fact this is a re-release of two complete albums recorded in the 1970s. The air of pedantry extends to Ennis' sleevenotes, which include a number of fanciful interpretations of the tunes. Personally (`Fox Chase' notwithstanding) I incline to Ciaran Carson's theory that most titles are purely adventitious; a tune called `The Rainy Day' is probably not a musical attempt to actually describe a rainy day. Ennis translates the titles of his song airs - `Ned of the Hill' instead of `Eamon a'Chnoic'- which would not be usual now. The notes are also riddled with printing errors, including the ludicrous `macaronie' for `macaronic' and `changer' for `chanter'; this makes the package seem a little slapdash. But if you enjoy Irish piping in its authentic and unaccompanied form, this is fantastic value for money.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Speedy delivery, great quality CD...Thank you
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8845c360) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88424d80) out of 5 stars A piping must-have. 29 July 2000
By Simon Burris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a two-cd set, packaged in one slim box. Each cd holds a separate, previously released album named after a tune appearing on that album: "The Pure Drop" (1973) and "The Fox Chase" (1978). Although we are dealing with two separate albums, there is a continuity of playing style and sound quality that jsutifies treating the two as a single entity. Buyers should consider this set as an extensive anthology of Ennis performances taken relatively late in his carreer; they will not find, for example, the great variety as found on "Forty Years of Irish Piping" (see separate review).
It must be emphasized that Seamus Ennis presents in these albums (as in all his albums) an authentic picture of traditional uilleann piping as it was at the turn of the twentieth century. Authenticity is assured by the simple fact that Ennis got his piping from his father, "who was considered to be the last of the pipers in the idiom or dialect of the old piping tradition," according to the introduction written by piper Liam O'Flynn. The terms "idiom" and "dialect" are well-chosen by O'Flynn, for Ennis' playing reflects a traditional "language" of piping in which the ornamentation and setting of tunes is, to a certain extent, determined by traditional practice proven over a century of playing. This traditional approach is quite different from one which emphasizes a purely personal approach independent of the history of the pipes themselves. As O'Flynn writes, this is "the specialised playing of the old pipers, as distinct from a rendering on a wood-wind instrument."
The tradition represented by Ennis is, of course, but one of several. He is an exponent of the "closed" style, which simply means he tends to play by lifting up only those fingers necessary to produce a note. The result is a clear, sometimes staccato style that is especially effective in faster tunes, e.g. reels. (The "open" style, exampled by Leo Rowesome, is one in which the piper keeps his fingers lifted up unless and until they must be lowered to form a note. The result is a more legato sound.) The reader should be aware that it not a simple matter to "map" Irish piping style according to geographical area.
Besides the piping itself (and there is only piping on these cds, unlike on "Forty Years" and "Bonny Bunch of Roses", where Ennis sings and plays tinwhistle) there are wonderful liner notes, written by Ennis himself, which give interesting historical details about each tune: where he acquired the tune, whether it appears in a collection, alternate names, translation of Gaelic terms, and brief comments on how the tune was performed by traditional musicians of his acquaintance (including his father).
To sum up, this is a fine collection, suitable for any one interested in authentic Irish piping.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88076054) out of 5 stars Later work from one of the true greats 29 Nov. 2003
By Kevin L. Rietmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Ennis recording to obtain above all others, even for non-pipers, is RTE's Return From Fingal, mostly recorded in 1940 and 1948; aside from surface noise, the only flaw in these early recordings might be that Seamus displays a certain lack of restraint in displaying his unequalled technical prowess on this supremely complicated musical instrument. It also has a nice selection of recordings from his later days, when he'd been through a lot - car wrecks, heart attacks, and pneumonia coupled with being a serious acoholic, which took away much of the command he showed in his youth. Students of piping of course have much to learn from these recordings anyway, but others may be put out by the occasional squealing or flat chanter note, uncertain timing, and a persistent distortion in his high G. All that aside, on his best tunes this is still marvelous music, very nicely recorded and in good tune, from one of the real greats of the century.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x880f58c4) out of 5 stars The real deal -- nothing fake or fancy 1 Mar. 2003
By DJ Joe Sixpack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Admittedly, the keening wail of the bagpipe is not for everyone... For those disinclined, the noise can be downright irritating. That being said, the style simply doesn't get better than this, and part of the reason is that, far from trying to hide the difficult aspects of Irish piping, Seamus Ennis practically revels in it. This 2-CD selection is drawn from two albums Ennis recorded for the Tara label, "The Pure Drop" and "The Fox Chase," and the set starts out with a real bang. On the second tune of the first disc, "The Fairy Boy," Ennis twists the tones beyond all reasonable limits, grinding the notes into odd, misshapen forms. Hardly content merely to know and regurgitate the old songs, Ennis is a true musician, one who muct play with and improvise around old themes. His work is playful, challenging and decidely experimental, unlistenable for some, yet a wellspring of creative depths for others... It's probably best taken in small doses, perhaps in a mix with other styles, but it's got an emotional and artistic resonance that's quite compelling, and is definitely worth checking out. For pipng fans, this is a must-hear record.
HASH(0x8842745c) out of 5 stars Love it. Love it 15 April 2015
By Jayelithe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Love it. Love it. Love it. So glad to have it, finally. Ennis is exceptional. Not polished like the current pros, but down-to-earth and approachable. So warm and earthy.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8842742c) out of 5 stars Traditional piping. 7 Jan. 2015
By Gracia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A very good
CD. We are enjoying listening to a true musician. He plays the pipes a way that one does not hear anymore.
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