The Piper and the Fairy Queen

Modern floral

Camerata Kilkenny, David Power
RTE lyric CD 156

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n its own words this CD is ‘exploring the common heritage of traditional Irish tunes and Baroque dances’, a project for which the string ensemble is joined by uillean piper, David Power. It is widely known that Baroque composers frequently drew on the ‘traditional’ music they heard around them for their instrumental music. Telemann, in particular, makes very distinctive and daring allusions to the folk traditions of eastern Europe. The Camerata Kilkenny do play some Telemann, but (unfortunately, perhaps) they go with the subtitle of their CD and choose his rather conventional Suite La Musette and the witty Gulliver Suite for two violins, neither of which frankly have much of a common heritage with traditional music. The other major Baroque suite seems similarly ill-chosen as it is music from Purcell’s Fairy Queen – fine for a title but adding little to the declared theme. The playing of the ensemble in this Baroque repertoire is competent enough, but they don’t seem to me to transfer any of the flair of traditional playing to the Baroque repertoire. The participation of David Power on uillean pipes includes several pipe solos relating to the CD’s title and several more interesting collaborations between pipes and strings such as the account of Handel’s famous pifa from Messiah and Leclair’s Musette and Menuets from Scylla and Glaucus. In these, the tuning isn’t always entirely comfortable. I think if this CD had focussed on its declared aim of finding links between the Baroque and traditional heritages it would have been more engaging than I found the CD which was eventually produced.

D. James Ross

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