Last week was Scoil na gCláirseach in Kilkenny.
“Nathaniel Gow’s Dance Band Concert” last night at the Edinburgh Assembly rooms was far, far more exciting, beautiful and moving than I had expected. The venue was just stunning, the band was amazing, the dancers were elegant and alluring, the programming was just perfect and the audience was almost full and really engaged with the entire project.
For my 10-minute set in next Friday’s 1817 bicentenary concert, I have been thinking about what tunes to play, and how to approach them.
For the next month, you can view the BBC TV documentary Scotland’s Treasures on iPlayer.
Yesterday I gave my lecture on the clàrsach or Gaelic harp, to the undergraduate students on the Scottish Music degree course at the University of St Andrews.
As is my wont nowadays, I filmed the lecture for you, but there was a mix up with my battery charging, and the camera died 40 minutes in, so you are missing the last 11 or 12 minutes.
Today I presented my concert in St Andrews, “the Memoirs of Arthur Ó Neill”.
I read excerpts from his autobiography, and played the tunes referred to in the anecdotes.
Here is my video of the complete, half-hour performance:
Edward Bunting‘s first field notebook, which he used to take down live transcriptions from the old harpers in 1792 and later, is kept at Queens University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4/29.
Usually known as ms29, it is a small oblong notebook stuffed full of sketchy drafts and scribbled transcriptions from the playing of the last tradition bearers.
On page 1 of the book is a two-staff arrangement of “The Banks of Claudy”.
When Iris Nevins gave me the Arnold Dolmetsch harp no.10, it had a bad soundboard crack. Closer inspection showed that the entire area where the neck attached to the soundbox was also loose.
I had promised Iris that I would get the harp up and running and do a video of it being played, so first I had to repair it.