PHILIP HAMMOND (b.1951): Miniatures and Modulations - Music from the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival: Charles MacHugh - The Wild Boy, Kiss Me Lady, The Little and Great Mountain, Rose Dillon (Jigg), Old Truagh, Molly My Treasure, John O'Reilly The Active, Have You Seen My Valentine?, The Merchant's Daughter, Kitty Tyrell, The Blackbird, Young Terence McDonough, Planxty McGuire, The Parting of Friends, An Irish Lullaby, Open the Door Softly, The Lamentation of Owen O'Neil, The Ugly Tailor, Granu Weal, The Fair Woman, The Beardless Boy.

Catalogue Number: 01Q062

Label: Grand Piano

Reference: GP702

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: The traditional Irish melodies that form the basis of these pieces were collected and notated by Edward Bunting (1773 - 1843). Bunting published three volumes of Ancient Irish Music, containing over three hundred tunes collected from all over Ireland. He produced his own arrangements, for piano, of music that would in many cases have been for voice and/or harp, thus altering many of the original harmonies, so what Hammond has done is to make his own selection, and then freely elaborated them in more or less contemporary style, though always retaining the original melodies in recognisable form. So in every case, what is heard here is a conventional harmonisation of the folk tune, followed by Hammond's variation of it. In some cases this is initially a denser, more chromatic harmonisation, an extended version of what Grainger did with his English and Scottish folk material, while in others a variety of more modern, dissonant or pianistically adventurous techniques are used, sometimes with clever references to other music, as for example in The Blackbird with its obvious Messiaen connotations. The original material is a starting point; the character of Hammond's transcriptions or fantasias often diverges completely from that of the traditional melody, but they remain respectful of the originals, and outlandish avant-gardism is entirely avoided, so the pieces remain approachable, fresh and attractive. Michael McHale (piano).


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