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Linn Records CKD 008, 1992
A Double CD, including a very good booklet containing useful notes. This CD was a companion to John Purser's excellent book of the same title (2nd edition now in stock). The musicians include the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Capella Nova, the Hilliard Ensemble and the Kings Singers. From early christian handbells through to 20th century orchestral works, this CD covers everything - that is, everything that fits the "classical" idea of music. So we do get plenty of medieval church music but precious little Gaelic material; we get delicious chamber music of the 17th and 18th century but no ports or cumhas; no pibroch; no solo Scots fiddle music; we have Alexander Cambell Mackenzie but not Marjory Kennedy-Fraser... there are two tracks with early clàrsach: Mary Macmaster plays and sings "Deirdre's lament", and Bonnie Shaljean plays three "Airs by Fingal". The entire CD is beautifully recorded and presented, a joy to listen to again and again; most of the repertory presented is not available at all on any other discs and in some ways this is frustrating - one track represents an entire lost genre. This CD really puts early clàrsach music into a broad and deep context.
This CD is now out of print and unavailable new. One copy only available secondhand (Apr 09), £25. contact me for availability & postage.
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© Simon Chadwick
First published July 2006.