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Carolan's dream
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>>listen to tracks from the album >>>back to index of recordings
 
Rock 'n' Reel, 1994
' Breathtaking ... a man truly at one with his instrument and obviously performing a labour of love. Intricate and highly skilled .... acoustic guitar echoing the likes of Simpson and Carthy.'
     
  Acoustic Guitar (USA), Hit List 1994
'Turlough O'Carolan is to Celtic music what Scott Joplin is to ragtime: both a technical challenge and a source of irresistible tunes.Hinchliffe rises to the challenge with arrangements of 19 of the blind harper's compositions, achieving a ringing, harplike texture and avoiding the temptation to overdecorate.'
 
  Folk Roots, 1994
'Fluid, sensitive and harp-like'
     
  The Living Tradition, 1994

'The subtitle of this CD aptly describes the project: Music of the Harper Turlough O'Carolan arranged for the Guitar by Keith Hinchliffe. Carolan was an Irish composer and performer whose life straddled the turn of the 17th century. He was a contemporary of the Italian baroque composer and writer Francesco Geminiani and although Carolan's music connects naturally with the traditional music of Ireland, it also shows leanings towards the Italian style.Western Europe was surprisingly cosmopolitan then - Geminiani died in Dublin and the two men knew each other. Both would have been interested in this album, Geminiani because one of his books was 'The Art of Playing the Guitar'.

'Keith Hinchliffe is an accomplished performer, well known in Yorkshire and the North Midlands as a committed researcher and arranger of music for solo guitar.Further afield he is perhaps best known as a former member of the Albion Band. He has a previous solo recording, an eclectic album of songs and tunes.Carolan's Dream has a much sharper focus, consisting of one hour of Carolan's instrumental music.

'It's sometimes implied that Irish music equals jigs and reels. Not so ! There is also a wonderfully rich tradition of airs, marches and waltzes, and it is these, rather than the dance tunes, that comprise Keith's album. It's not an album to dance to - I didn't notice my feet tapping at all! It's an album for listening, or for simply evoking atmosphere. This it does very successfully, through the selection and the arrangements of the tunes and through the warm, rich, reverberant sound of the guitar.

'As far as I know, Carolan left nothing other than melodies, with no indication of tempo or dynamics, so Keith must be credited with the first class arranging and harmonic design. Of the 19 tracks, there are four highlights that stood out for me. The stately, beautiful tune Blind Mary has an effective, unfussy accompaniment and the sound is enriched by Keith's occasional ringing harmonics, not used to show off technique, but because it makes musical sense (This seems a relatively rare consideration on guitarists' albums.) Cremonea is an unusual air, convincingly arranged, with tension created through the careful use of semitone discords.

'Like much of the album, the title track, Carolan's Dream, is rich and atmospheric, and Carolan's Farewell to Music is performed as a particularly moody, expressive and evocative piece. While I have nothing but admiration for these and the other slower tunes, I don't feel so enthusiastic about the faster pieces. To my ear these sometimes sound rushed and they tend to suffer in comparison with the airs, which are outstanding, not least for Keith's spacey tempi.'

'The sympathetic production by Christopher Madin and the guitars made by Nicholas Scott add significantly to the overall professional sound of the album.'

     
    E-mail mail@keithhinchliffe.com - Telephone 0114 266 9896