Laments & Dances
1 Laments and Dances, from the Irish (A Little Prelude for Brabizon) 03:36
2 Laments and Dances, from the Irish (The Father's Lament and Dance) 04:56
3 Laments and Dances, from the Irish (Carolan's Concerto) 02:07
4 Laments and Dances, from the Irish (Lord Galwey's Lament and The Cleric's Dance) 03:24
5 Laments and Dances, from the Irish (Reeling) 05:58
6 O Waly Waly 03:12
7 The Ash Grove 02:31
8 The Salley Gardens 02:10
9 Sweet Polly Oliver 02:04
10 No Feathers on This Frog 03:54
11 Sonata Fantasia 08:59
12 Three Straws 03:19
13 Ashokan Farewell 03:14
14 The Gentle Earl 02:49
15 Long Time Ago 02:21
16 The Dodger 02:05
17 Simple Gifts 01:46
18 Hvem Kan Saile? 03:20
19 Pal Sine Honer 02:25
20 Planxty Irwin 03:04
21 O'Carolan's Farewell to Music 02:24
olk music is about the intimate events of our lives-births and deaths, Flove affairs, and family relationships. We learn folk music from those we
love and by it we remember them. These songs that we hold so close to our hearts seem very innocent, and yet they have the power to shape nations. Folk music connects us to our past; to traditions, kindred, and lands that in our lives form a foundation stronger than stone.
The line between folk music and so-called "art music" has never been distinct. Works of art are largely a product of their authors' heredity and environment, and many great composers have relied heavily on their ethnic milieu for inspiration. The composers of music on this collection have used folk music in some cases as a point of departure, and in others as the substance of their work.
In Laments and Dances, the piece from which this recording takes its name, Arnold Black has adapted tunes by the 17th-century Irish itinerant harper, Turlough O'Carolan. O'Carolan's melodies are popular among modern folk artists, but are a little more sophisticated than most folk tunes. Folk singer Sally Rogers had originally suggested that O'Carolan's music might be of interest to us. In researching, we found that only the melodies remain. Since the music was performed on the harp, it could be assumed that the melodies were harmonized, but the harmonizations were not written down.
O'Carolan was one of the last-certainly most famous-itinerant harpers in Ireland. Harping is an ancient and complex art of Gaelicspeaking nations in which accompanied Gaelic poetry details the lives and exploits of powerful clans. Harp players traveled to the households of the wealthy, often staying for extended periods to record in poetry and music the history of the families. In the 17th century the English rulers of Ireland found it necessary to deprive the Irish of their national identity by, among other things, banning the Gaelic language and the tradition of itinerant harping. Consequently, much of this music has been lost.
O'Carolan admired the music of Corelli and Geminiani and imitated Italian Baroque style in some of his melodies. "Carolan's Concerto," the thematic material for the third movement of Black's piece, is an example of such a melody. Other O'Carolan melodies used in Laments and Dances are "George Brabazon," "Sheebeg and Shemore," and "Lord Galwey."
Black was most impressed by the sharply contrasting moods of Irish music, from raucous dance music to profoundly grieving and tender laments; thus, the pairings of laments and dances in four of the five movements of the piece. In a small irony of history, the piece is dedicated to Black's wife Ruth, who encouraged him through tough times to finish the project. She is English.
Benjamin Britten, also English, composed settings for many folk songs of the British Isles; some for piano and voice, and some for solo guitar and voice. We chose to arrange the songs with keyboard accompaniment for two guitars and voice.
Dusan Bogdanovic was born in the country formerly known as Yugoslavia, and now lives in the United States. "No Feathers On This Frog" is based on a Balkan folk song that his mother sang. His Sonata Fantasia does not use any specific folk melodies, but when heard in comparison with "No Feathers On This Frog," one can easily identify similarities.
Here is how Dusan describes these pieces: "Both works are based on Balkan folklore. The Phrygian mode and odd-metrics are characteristic for the whole Levantine region, of which the Balkans are an outpost.
"Owing to a multitude of factors (Turkish and Austro-Hungarian rule; Mongolian invasions; proximity to the Middle-East), the Balkan folklore is incredibly rich and diversified, and has been a source for much 'crossover' between folk and classical music. It is in this tradition that I have written the two pieces, marrying the original folk song and dance to classical
Western compositional devices.
of folk "Sonata motifs to Fantasia, build in three interrelated continuous thematic movements, architecture. uses The first transformationand third
movements employ dances; the second is in the form of melodic dialogue, other culminating hand, in uses a an four-voice accelerating fugato. dance 'No movement Feathers at On the This end of Frog,' the on piecethe typical of the region.
Phrygian "Melody type and of mode harmony using are an both augmented modal and second polymodbetween al, based second on anda
of third niques degrees. crossrhythms and Rhythm is polymeters. typically I in have odd-meter also and introduced employs a variety various of kindstechand textures in the guitar writing which are mainly derived from the
Three Straws was composed in honor of his new home when based Bogdanovic on the first melody came to "Turkey the in United the Straw," States. while The the outer middle movements movementare quotes a little bit of 'The Old Folks at Home" ("Suwannee River").
Camp Jay at Ungar Ashokan, composed New York. "Ashokan The tune Farewell" has for since his Fiddle become and familiar Danceto many as the theme from the PBS-TV series, The Civil
Sally's husband, Howie Bursen, dedicated the lovely mmigrant War. waltz who "The came Gentleto Earl" America to the as a child memory to of escape his father, the Earl, Russian a Jewish pogroms.i
folk Although music, he Aaron never Copland's wrote for music the is guitar, strongly the associated instrument with most American closely linked songs to for that two style. guitars We and have voice. corrected this oversight by arranging these