Mudcat Café message #3794750 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #159372   Message #3794750
Posted By: keberoxu
10-Jun-16 - 02:05 PM
Thread Name: 'All the dear Spinning Eileens' (Irish harpists)
Subject: RE: 'All the dear Spinning Eileens' (Irish harpists)
Gael Linn's "Amhráin Ghrá" compact disc anthology includes all three of the graduates of Sion Hill's Harp Room who, in their teens, were presented singing and playing harps in a Thomas Moore memorial pageant in the early 1950's, and went on to the concert hall or the cabaret: Mary O'Hara, Kathleen Watkins, and Deirdre Flynn. All three are represented on the album by recordings of singing with their harps.   

The convention of the singer accompanied by the harp rears its head in other places as well. I cannot discover if, in her long career on the concert stage and the broadcast studio, mezzo-soprano Máire Ní Scolaí ever sang with a harp. The classical-music tradition of piano accompaniments, however, furnished her with the piano imitating a harp, on some songs. Máire Ní Scolaí's recording of "Caoineadh na dTri Muire," made for HMV records in 1938, is an excellent example of this adaptation. Accompanist Duncan Morrisson accompanies this example of sean-nós with a piano arrangement composed to sound as much as possible like a harp. This puts the music firmly in classical art-song territory, since classical composers for centuries have used keyboard instruments, especially the pianoforte with its dampers, to imitate the harp.

You will not find "Caoineadh na dTri Muire," however, on "Amhráin Ghrá" or any other Gael Linn CD that I know of -- at least, not this arrangement with this singer. I could only find it on the Gael Linn vinyl LP from 1971 named "Máire Ní Scolaí."