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Celtic Flute Christmas

Celtic Flute Christmas

Item No. ZZCD 9809

Entertainment

Price GBP 7.50 / USD

Units  
Medium: CD 
Release Date: 27.08.1998

There is no doubt that the Celtic flute has a haunting sound all of its own. To some it might conjure up windswept highlands where the rain flows as freely as the whiskey, to others it might bring to mind long-haired New Age would-be druids, congregating at ancient monuments before daybreak; others might perhaps think of Mel Gibson striding braveheartedly across the big screen, dressed in a skirt and speaking in a silly accent. The current passion for things Celtic covers a multitude of sins, to be sure. And yet the notion of recording well-known Christmas songs on the Celtic flute to the accompaniment of Irish bagpipes, Irish harp, guitar, accordion and drum might still to some seem rather beyond the pale. But Christmas is nothing if not a flexible feast. Its music calls for no fidelity to the text, for the Christmas musical tradition is one of arrangement and rearrangement. There are but few carols that we sing today exactly as their composer intended. Most have been translated, rescored, or adapted to the Victorian Christmas aesthetic that still largely prevails today – or they have been subjected to a mixture of all three. Many of the melodies arranged here will be familiar to all those who have experienced an Anglo-Saxon Christmas (or a Celtic one, for that matter). The oldest date back to the 1600s or earlier, though latter-day melodies are featured too. Walking in the air is a song from Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, a children’s film released some twenty years ago. Both song and film achieved immediate and well-deserved fame. Waggett’s The Clock and the Hearth was written especially for this album. The instruments used here are perhaps older than the uninitiated might think. The youngest is in fact the accordion, which is barely two centuries old. The bagpipe on the other hand has been in existence for more than two thousand years, while the harp is documented as far back as 3000 BC. The first appearance in Europe of the latter instrument was – appropriately for our purposes – in Ireland, about a thousand years ago. The bodhran, a goat-skin drum, is however – if only on grounds of its simplicity – undoubtedly the oldest form of instrument in use here. If the purist still doubts the validity of arrangement of Christmas carols for the present ensemble, then let us remind ourselves that the origins of Christmas lie as much in ancient heathen festivities as in Christian religious observance. Many of the carols we love the most employ legends and symbols that we associate with Christmas by virtue only of tradition, but are in fact in content hardly less pagan in origin than the Celtic harp itself. As much as we sing of Christ’s birth, we also sing of holly, ivy, wassailing, partridges in pear trees, and lots of figgy pudding. To pour old Christmas wine into new Celtic bottles, as on this CD, is thus well in keeping with the spirit of the festive season. It might even help us to appreciate better those many melodies that are so familiar that we have forgotten how well-crafted they are, and it can remind us of how fresh was once their inspiration.


Tracklist and soundclips:
Title Composer Artist Time Play
01 We Wish You A Merry Christmas Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 1:49
02 I Saw Three Ships Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 1:34
03 Brightest And Best Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:47
04 The Holly And The Ivy Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 2:48
05 The Christmas Tree With The Candles Gleaming/Good King Wenceslas Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 1:35
06 In The Bleak Mid Winter Holst Gustav Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:22
07 The 12 Days Of Christmas Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:51
08 Baloo Lammy Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 1:24
09 Wassail Carol Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 1:49
10 The Clock AndThe Hearth Waggett Declan Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:18
11 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:34
12 It Est Ne, Le Divin Enfant Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 2:46
13 Walking In The Air (The Snowman) Blake Howard Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:28
14 The Little Drummer Boy Davis/Onoriti/Simeone Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:08
15 The Blazing Fire/Whilst Shepherds Watched/We Three Kings/The reel-Trim The Velvet Waggett Declan/Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:33
16 Silent Night/Breton Lullaby Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:46
17 Gentle Jesus, Sweetly Sleep Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 2:53
18 Christmas Medley - Good Christian Men Rejoice/Ding Dong Merrily on High Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 2:57
19 The Coventry Carol Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 2:17
20 The First Noel Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:42
21 In The Ending Of The Year Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 1:40
22 Aulde Lang Syne/K-Lee Traditional Celtonia with String and Percussion arrangements by Declan Waggett 3:42
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