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Album at a Glance

Tonal and ConsonantChamber MusicPeriod Instruments
Record Label - Alpha Productions: "Quality is the mantra of the label. The commitment to aesthetic perfection and the research of the ideal sound identity is in total opposition to the mass of standardized products that are flooding today’s musical world."
Release date: 2013-03-12


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Lord Gallaway’s Delight: Dances & Gaelic Laments from the 16th & 17th centuries


Lord Gallaway's Delight from Alpha Productions is, as the album's subtitle states "An Excellent Collection of Dances & Gaelic Laments" as performed by the early music ensemble Les Witches with guest Irish harpist Siobhán Armstrong. The music is drawn from various collections of Scottish, Irish and Welsh tunes dating from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. All of the music is performed instrumentally. Dance pieces that are the rollicking evidence of some very good times are complimented by slow and sorrowful Laments. The laments are performed by solo harp or by harp and one of the other instruments, which includes (using the spellings to be found in the program notes) luth, guiterne, violon, clavecin, clavicytherium, flutes and violes de gambe.

The early Irish harp has been at the center of musical culture in Ireland for over 1,000 years, and is at the heart of each of these pieces, and of the concept for the album. Only one Irish harp from medieval times remains in Ireland. It is the national emblem of the country and is preserved at Trinity College in Dublin. Harpist Siobhán Armstrong performs on a copy of the Trinity College harp, strung in brass and 18-carat gold.

Music traditions were spread orally at this time, and since very little music was written down, it is difficult to know for sure how it sounded. Les Witches approached their performances from known practices of the Baroque and Renaissance periods, applying styles that were common to both popular and art music. Listening to this is rather like listening to folk music from centuries ago. It is characteristically Celtic sounding, undemanding, and very enjoyable to be around.

Siobhán Armstrong performs on the early Irish harp