Lynn Saoirse – “Mrs. Maxwell and Mrs. Nugent”.

And, for today, I picked for you guys a piece played by Lynn Saoirse, from her album The Seas Are Deep, which features compositions by Irish Celtic harper Turlough O’Carolan. As I’ve already written on here before, what was characteristic to Turlough O’Carolan’s music was that he composed a lot of tunes in honour of his patrons, as a way of showing his gratitude. That’s what we can find on this Lynn Saoirse’s album. This is a piece which, as you can figure out from the title, is dedicated to the two mentioned ladies. Unfortunately I don’t know who they were in his life, but he has composed multiple pieces for people with the surname Nugent, so I guess all we can assume is that they must have been some family he knew, whereas there is more than one piece dedicated to Mrs. Maxwell, so she must have been an important person in his life. Seeing all those people’s names though and hearing the music he composed for them, I’d really like to know a bit more about them to have a clearer picture of things.

Lynn Saoirse – “Isabella Burke/Planxty Burke”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you two harp pieces performed by Irish harpist Lynn Saoirse, and composed by the famous 18th-century Irish Celtic harpist Turlough O’Carolan. I wrote about him before when sharing some piece composed by him. He was travelling a lot and staying in the houses of rich people, playing for them. At the end of his stay, he would typically present his hosts with a piece that he wrote especially for them, as a way of expressing his gratitude. And these pieces that he composed specifically for his patrons are called planxty, just like the second piece in this set. I don’t know who the Burkes were, or maybe it was just one person, in his life, nor who was Isabella Burke to whom the first piece is specifically dedicated, beyond quite an obvious fact that they must have been his patrons. I really like both these pieces and I can’t even decide which one is more beautiful.

Celia Briar – “Eleanor Plunkett”.

Hey people! 🙂

Not long ago, I shared with you a harp piece performed by Sue Richards and composed by Irish national bard and composer who was also a harper – Turlough O’Carolan. – Today, I’m sharing another tune that was composed by him and that is one of his most popular compositions, very frequently played by harpers and harpists. The version I chose to share with you is by Celia Briar, whose music I’ve also shared with you quite a few times before. From what I’ve read, it used to be a song with Irish Gaelic lyrics, which are now unknown. O’Carolan wrote this song in praise of Eleanor Plunkett from Robertstown in co. Meath.

Song of the day (8th November) – Sue Richards – “Clergy’s Lamentation”.

Hi people! 🙂

So I’ve shared a lot of harp music – especially Celtic harp music – with you lately, but as far as I can remember I haven’t shared anything at all from the rich legacy of the most famous Celtic harpist ever – Turlough O’Carollan. – It’s quite funny that people always associate harp, be it classical or Celtic or any other, primarily with women, and these days it’s mainly women playing this instrument and seems very unusual when it’s otherwise, while the most famous Irish Celtic harper was male. Turlough O’Carolan was born in late 17th century, and was a harper, composer and also a singer. He is regarded as Ireland’s national composer. At the age of eighteen he was blinded by smallpox. He spent most of his life journeying through the country on horseback, composing and playing his music.

A lot of contemporary harpists play his tunes, and this piece is no exception. I am sharing it with you performed by Sue Richards – Celtic harpist from North Carolina – but I’ve heard quite a few other versions. In Sue Richards’ version, there are also other instruments as you’ll be able to hear, which makes it feel nicely richer.