Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

I am stretched on your grave. Nineteen Irish laments.
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My love for Irish music of all kinds is well known. I find the Irish and their culture fascinating and can enjoy their traditional music as I can the serious composers such as Gerard Victoiy and James Wilson , and others, about whom I have written for this website.

This disc is of 19 slow laments . There is no variety, as such, from one track to another. The music is therefore dreary and quickly becomes tedious.

But what is very worrying is that the singer, Caitriona 0' Leary, is simply awful. She cannot sing in tune. Now, I realise that the standard definition of what makes a pop singer is the inability to sing in tune but I did not know it extended to folk singers and singers of traditional music. People will object and say that this is the style. To be in tune is not a requirement. And in the pop world we have grown up with that idea. Let's face it, Elton John does not sing in tune yet he is a multi-millionaire and regarded highly. The sign of a very bad pianist is when they tap their foot on the floor while they are playing.

If singing in tune is not important then I will drive on the wrong side of the road when I go into school tomorrow!

No, this disc is miserable. That is the only word for it and I am sorry that I pressed for the opportunity to review it

David Wright


But Philip K.F. Hölzenspies did enjoy this perfomance and responds to David Wright

I was amazed at Caitriona’s voice when I was first introduced to her singing. I find it difficult to agree with David Wright. Where does she sing out of tune?

Caitriona pleasantly surprised me as clearly being a educated singer. Her (mezzo) soprano capabilities may not be unique in the classical world (I don’t think she would nominate for the finals of the Belgian Queen Elizabeth Concurs – which I consider to be quite the world dictating standard, delivering musicians the likes of Vladimir Ashkenazy), but she far surpasses any traditional singer I’ve heard so far. I’m fond of the likes of Loreena McKennitt, but I’m sorry to have to say that compared to Caitriona, she’s still in the kinder garden of vocalists.

I can understand that this album migh give a first impression of being boring. The coloring of one’s voice is an exquisite art that not only requires years of practice and training to master, but it also requires hours of listening to comprehend. The music on this disc is quite aptly qualified: 19 slow laments. Let’s face it, slow laments are boring, at least, on paper. To make a whole disc of 19 laments remotely interesting, the musician must make a true effort as every detail of performance adds or takes away from the final result. Caitriona succeeded at that with flying colors.

Philip K.F. Hölzenspies

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