Aldgate Church Of Christ, Sun 6 Mar
This journey through myth, magic and melody begins with the lovely Emma Horwood singing an old Irish tune unaccompanied in Gaelic as she walks down the aisle to the stage. She quietly settles beside one of her two harps and begins a wistful hour of gentle Celtic melodies spanning back to the 8th century. Horwood shares the background to each piece in a scripted narration that contains frequent references to an invisible, make believe world that includes myths, legends, magic, fairies, banshees, sirens and silkies. (One can see how the Irish easily accepted the angels and saints of Christianity when it came along!)
I loved the instrumental by Breton, Alan Stivell (Ys). It starts slow and melodic but quite skips along rhythmically as it builds. The short Fairy’s Dance is also relatively upbeat and sounded similar to a lot of medieval instrumental music.
Brian Boru’s March is one of those tunes you know when you hear it but have never known its name. The two more modern adaptations of old songs from Loreena McKennitt were lovely, and provided a point of comparison with the more traditional arrangements of most of the songs on the program.
Horwood’s vocals are beautiful – ethereal and other worldly – and naturally complement the heavenly strings of her harp.
She was accompanied by her husband and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra percussionist, Steve Peterka, and he showed what deft, sensitive touch can do to embellish what might otherwise be simple arrangements. He added a layer of texture and depth that rendered each piece richer. I’m not sure what instrument he was using to do it (perhaps vibraphone?) but his bowed percussion was exquisite – such a gorgeous and subtle sound.
A charming concert. Guaranteed to stir any Celtic soul, and should calm the spirit of those who slow down enough to listen to the past
A Celtic Dream continues at Radford Auditorium from 3pm until Sun 13 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.