|Reviews from the Atlanta Celtic Quarterly
All reviews by David Marcus unless otherwise noted.
||Crossing to Scotland
Abby Newton ('cello) with Alasdair Fraser (fiddle);
Kim Robertson (celtic harp); Paul Machlis (piano); Al Petteway (guitar);
David Hornung (accordion); Scott Petito (upright bass). 15 tracks;
57'01". Culburnie Records, 800-830-6296.
|Audio clips, track listing & liner notes
Order from Culburnie Records
the piano, the 'cello was the instrument used to accompany
dance music in Scotland. Abby Newton has made it her mission
to re-establish that tradition, and she does it with grace, love,
and lyricism. On this, her first solo CD, she brings us dance music
in many forms as well as a few airs.
The music ranges from ancient Greenland/Shetland music to tunes from
some of the major 19th-century collections and even a few 20th-century
compositions (composers include Alasdair Fraser and Daithi
Sproule). The airs on the album are absolutely timeless; the dance
tunes are rounded and relaxed; and her O'Carolan ("Loftus Jones"
and his "Draught") sounds like movements from Bach 'cello
suites. On the other hand, her arrangement of "Tarbolton Lodge" is very
much flavored by the playful new-acoustic sound that Alasdair Fraser
and Paul Machlis
have in some of their albums.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending a workshop in 18th
century performance practice as applied to dance music, and Abby Newton
plays with much of the same styling that I heard there. Her playing
is thoughtful, with a Baroque performer's attention paid to the beginning,
middle and end of each note.
This is the most absolutely elegant album I've heard in a long time,
and one that easily makes my A+ list. And one of its pleasures is its
contrast to the more fast, driving music found on the other CDs reviewed
this month. The 'cello has always been the instrument I'd want to
be shipwrecked on a desert island with; now I know who I'd want to
have there to play it. Rating: A+.