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The Celtic Viol - An Hommage to Irish and Scottish Musical Traditions - Jordi Savall Hybrid SACD, SACD

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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  • The Celtic Viol - An Hommage to Irish and Scottish Musical Traditions - Jordi Savall
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Product details

  • Composer: Various
  • Audio CD (27 April 2009)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Alia Vox
  • ASIN: B001RQQ0CI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,755 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

ALIA 9865; ALIA VOX -; Classica da camera

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Pace Tamnaceol, I enjoyed this a lot. Of course it is not a foot-tapping CD - it's a more refined sort of thing, and for some that may be a disadvantage. But it's an interesting selection, the tunes are played with the greatest skill and musicality and many - particularly the slower airs - are most affecting (I'm actually listening to William Marshall's 'Chapel Keithack' as I type this ; it's beautiful). The sound is always lovely. I have to say that to give one star for all of that seems a bit mean to me. I don't see why these tunes should not be played as 'art' music, as they are here - they are good enough. Marshall, Niel Gow and his son were all happy that their tunes be played as drawing-room music for a listening audience - they did this themselves. It's a different approach from that used for dancing, but this kind of playing was common and popular in Enlightenment Edinburgh at the time of the Gows and, indeed, Burns, and would have been accepted by them. In addition, though Savall's approach may not be 'foot-tapping', it is every bit as rhythmically tight as it needs to be. With many of the tunes, he adds variations, always imaginatively, which again is very much in the 18th-century performing tradition (see David Johnson's fine book, 'Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th. Century'). I am not so aware of the Irish tradition, but the Irish tunes are just as good and equally enjoyable - much the same approach is used. So I'm enthusiastic, and grateful, too, to Jordi Savall, not just for trying but for producing something unusual and very pleasurable. By the way, the CD has moved on to Macpherson's Lament now, and it's spell-binding.
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Format: Audio CD
Fortunately, we bought volume 2 of this before vol 1 (this one). It instantly became a favourite listen, with an unusual take on some familiar and not so familiar tunes. If you're into Monteverdi etc you'll recognise the sort of style and ornamentation which Jordi Savall brings to this material and it raises all sorts of interesting ideas (mostly probably totally spurious) about the possible origins of the tradition, with echoes of Byzantium and the mysterious East.

But this album, recorded a couple of years earlier in three distinct sessions, is more about the development of the approach which works so well on the second album. Initially disappointing through the first half or so (was this the same man?), we kept listening. Suddenly the style of the second album magically appears and from then on it's mostly all good. We both independently thought exactly the same about it so there must be something that objectively changes at that point, the style sort of 'clicks'.

If you haven't heard the second one and you like medieval/renaissance and folk music, this is a really interesting listen. If you're a fiddler it's particularly worthwhile because of the open tunings of the viol (I want one) which makes me, at least, reassess the virtues of different tunings for different material. He gets effects and sounds you'll not get any other way.

Not one for the hardcore hi-velocity folkies, perhaps. But give it a go (and perhaps try vol 2 first).
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Format: Audio CD
In the middle of this recital, Jordi Savall plays a group of pieces on a 5-string treble fiddle from 1500, and the sound is riveting. One of the tunes in this group is the well-known "McPherson's Lament," and it's gripping to hear it sounded out in this way. Most of the music on the disc is played on a 6-string treble viol (there is also a group played on a 5-string viol), an 18th Century instrument sounding a bit more robust than the fiddle but equally eloquent. Some groups are accompanied by an Irish harpist, improvising according to traditional practice, and how eloquent that can be might be heard in the lovely "Mhairi Bhan Og." There are two lovely pieces by Carolan, and some selections from the Scottish fiddler-composer Neil Gow. Savall's respect for the music and its current practitioners is evident in his modest note. If there's an underlying feeling to the music it's melancholy -- even the jigs and reels have a sad undertone, which, for a displaced Scot like me, makes them all the more appealing. However, if you listen to a band like the Chieftains, or even to a cajun band like Beausoleil, it might strike you that a more upbeat rendering of some pieces might be possible. But in popular music like this, there is no "definitive" way -- this is Savall's way, and it's beautiful on its own terms. I would guess that if you relish the Chieftains in instrumental mode (for there is no singing on this recording), then you'll find this intriguing and beautiful.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow, this are a surprising recording of Irish and Scottish Musical Traditions. This music give me much joy, when I listened too. Jordi Savall played the music very good. If you like tradition music from the British Islands. I will recomend at the highest point. I love this CD very much. Many lovely melodies. A CD I will hear many times.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This record does have some limitations. In his accompanying comments, Savall notes the survival and vitality of oral transmission in Irish and Scottish music. Yet he has chosen many of his selections for this album from published collections which themselves filtered, altered, sanitized and 'improved' the oral tradition for a bourgeois audience increasingly interested in the music of 'the people'. Perhaps if Savall had more time to listen and learn tunes in 'live' settings, at pubs and dances, he might have assimilated more of the traditional styles, particularly their regional diversity. However, this record is a homage, and Savall doesn't claim authenticity (wherever you may find that), describing the record as a 'fervent tribute'. I think I detect some purist snobbery in Tam na ceol's comments. But where - for example - would Irish traditional music be without Michael Coleman's many American recordings, despite the frequently abysmal piano accompaniments? Savall acknowledges that he was not born into these traditions, and has much to learn. These recordings are certainly not dire and plodding. Savall's touch is light and affectionate. While his performances are far removed from what many would consider traditional, they are beautiful, and with these limitations can be accepted as the homage they are.
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