The Symphonic Celtic Album
Music by: Various Artists
Performed By: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Distributed by: Silva Screen Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I have always found Celtic music to be beautifully and enchantingly entertaining. The penny whistle, fiddle, bodhrán, harp, hammered dulcimer, mandolin and more combine to create a captivating and exotic sound that never fails to capture my attention. Some songs are sad, some are celebratory, but all have that special sound that is unique to the Celtic genre.
On May 3, 2011, Silva Screen Records released The Symphonic Celtic Album, a collection of fourteen symphonic themes from film and stage influenced by the music of the Celtic lands - Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle Of Man, Cornwall, Brittany and Galicia. Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic, the album consists of songs created by such notable composers as Carter Burwell, Howard Shore, Thomas Newman, James Horner, John Williams, Hans Zimmer and more.
The album begins with the hauntingly beautiful End Credits by Carter Burwell, from the Coen Brothers’ Irish-American gangster film, Miller’s Crossing. Following this up are May It Be and The Fellowship from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Both tracks have a sad tinge, but The Fellowship contains an adventurous side and ends with a triumphant brass fanfare. Women of Ireland, a song composed by Sean O’Riada to honor the memory of the women dedicated to Ireland, features those whistles I love so much combined with a sorrowful harp and violin solo that turns symphonic as the track continues. Although containing a sad air in the beginning, beauty is apparent in every second of the track and a determination resonates throughout.
What collection of Celtic-influenced film music would be complete without My Heart Will Go On from Titanic, a beautiful love song composed by James Horner and Will Jennings. Another stand out track on the album, one that practically demands you get up and dance, clapping your hands and stamping your feet, is End Credits composed for Far and Away by John Williams. While the other tracks are symbolic of the beauty and often times sorrowful quality of Celtic music, this is the greatest example of the fun and celebratory side of the genre.
Anyone who enjoys Celtic music will be more than happy to add The Symphonic Celtic Album to their collection. It contains all the elements of classic Celtic music and provides a full spectrum view of the genre in all of its various forms. I’ve already listened to this album four times and can’t wait to listen to it again!