The first taste of Celtic music I remember was a flute solo by James Galway. Later, I began to hear harping. Violins, however, were usually limited to fiddling a jig.
While that's an art form in itself, I suppose I was guilty of a certain amount of snobbery and relegated Irish violin players to the Celtic equivalent of barn dancing.
David Davidson's Celtic Fantasy dispelled that prejudice. Some of the tunes on this CD have that country feel. After all, Davidson is Nashville's most sought-after fiddle player and that influence does come through loud and clear in spots.
Equally clear, though, are Davidson's classical roots.
"I can't let go of all the Bach and Mozart I've played over the years," Davidson says. "Perhaps that makes Celtic Fantasy a bit different than other recordings."
That's an understatement to say the least. Davidson's work on this album is nothing short of lyrical. The entire CD has a rich, deamlike quality. While all but two of the tracks are instrumentsals, you still get the feeling of a story behind the music, a tale that unfolds through the voice of Davidson's violin.
If nothing else, you have to admire the range Davidson has created with this piece. Elements of traditional Celtic folk melodies mingle side-by-side with orchestral instrumentation. Throughout each tune, you can't help but feel that someone has taken great pains to select just the right mix of instruments. Davidson himself plays three different violins on the CD.
"For "Celtic Fantasy," my goal was to write beautiful melodies," Davidson explains. "Whe I wrote jigs and reels, I wanted them simple and direct. I tried to use a variety of instrumentation throughout the album without the diversity becoming distracting."
More importantly, you get the feeling Davidson selected the musicians for each melody just as carefully as he selected their instruments. Three different pianists and a number of other talented sidemen participated in the recording sessions for Celtic Fantasy.
"I worked with great musicians who all brought great ideas to the sessions," Davidson says. "Throughout it all I tried to capture the emotions and feelings that are associated with Ireland, Scotland and Celtic music, with its many changes in color, emotion and rhythm."
You can find more information about Celtic Fantasy at www.greenhillmusic.com.
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