Keith Hinchliffe: Ancient Music

Keith Hinchliffe: Ancient Music
Title: Ancient Music
Label: CD Baby

One of the best acoustic guitarists around, and certainly one of the most versatile, Sheffield-based Keith Hinchliffe received international acclaim for his much-broadcast album Carolan's Dream, and his second CD Islands was described by Andy Kershaw on his BBC World Service Roots Music programme as 'an excellent album by a wonderful guitar player.' A former member of the Albion Band, he has also released Red Scarf Smiler, a much more eclectic selection of music including Elizabethan lute works, blues, Latin American pieces and eight original compositions. Keith's new (2011) album Ancient Music includes pieces originally intended for many different instruments, from the Elizabethan lutenists to Bach, Purcell and the early Irish harpers. Here is a review from 'Stirrings' magazine: ' Listening to this CD you have to remember that the human hand usually has just four fingers and a thumb, and a guitar usually has just six strings. Considering that there is no dual-tracking you might wonder about the sheer physical possibility of what you are hearing. Keith's fourth album presents music of the 16th to 18th centuries, mostly written for many different instruments. With the use of open tuning on his Nicholas Scott Triple O model guitar, Keith often makes his ringing guitar strings sound like a metal-strung harp or a harpsichord. The album consists of five John Dowland, two Anthony Holborne, three Turlough 0' Carolan, two J S Bach plus an assortment of one-offs by Cornelius Lyons, Henry Purcell (three minuets), Thomas Robinson and a couple of anons. It starts with Dowland's Galliard, which is a shorter minor-keyed version of The King Of Denmark's Galliard, and it includes some pretty flash ornamentation. An accompanying book of the arrangements is available, and I look forward to counting the notes involved in one particular bit of ornamentation, which I understand is in the original texts. Aurally I lost count! But on the whole this is not a CD of 'flash for the sake of flash', The Carolan tunes exemplify what seems to be a general strategy of emphasising the emotion-triggering nature of the melodies .There is a lovely juxtaposition of Carolan's melancholy Lament for Owen O'Rourke followed by the delightfully jolly and traditional Blue Eyed Stranger. There is an example of figured bass on Bach's Gavotte en Rondeau, and I wondered what this would sound like if jazzed up with a Jethro Tull treatment. Two slowish waltzes, Planxty Irwin and Greensleeves, have top lines backed up by busy accompaniments, and it is especially on these that you wonder if two guitars are playing. This is indeed an excellent album and recommended unreservedly. I've heard a lot of these tunes by people like Julian Bream (lute), Derek Bell (harp) and Grainne Yeats (harp), and I can only say Keith's guitar versions are often more adventurous. ' Keith has also published books of transcriptions of all his recordings. For information about these and for many more reviews etc. Keith's excellent website is worth a visit.

1.1 Dowland's Galliard
1.2 Pavan: The Countess of Pembroke's Paradise
1.3 Planxty Irwin / My Lodging Is on the Cold Ground
1.4 Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: II. Allemande
1.5 Lament Tor Owen O'Rourke
1.6 The Blue-Eyed Stranger
1.7 Captain Digorie Piper's Galliard
1.8 Squire Wood's Lamentation
1.9 The Night Watch
1.10 The Second Part of Musick's Handmaid, Lessons (12) for Harpsichord : Mi
1.11 The Frog Galliard
1.12 Greensleeves Variations
1.13 Miss Hamilton
1.14 Mr Dowland's Midnight
1.15 Lute Suite, BWV 995: 5. Gavotte II (Gavotte en Rondeau)
1.16 Robin Has to the Greenwood Gone
1.17 Come Heavy Sleep

Keith Hinchliffe: Ancient Music

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