SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

A Light in the Forest – Anne Roos, Celtic harp/ Char Berta, tenor recorder, alto recorder, whistle/ Chris Caswell, percussion and harmonium/ Michael Frost, viola/ Alan Fuller, guitars and cittern/ Dorothy A. Hawkinson, fiddle and hardingfele – Cambria

Relax, forget the day, and let these sounds penetrate your ears and your spirit

Published on April 13, 2008

A Light in the Forest – Anne Roos, Celtic harp/ Char Berta, tenor recorder, alto recorder, whistle/ Chris Caswell, percussion and harmonium/ Michael Frost, viola/ Alan Fuller, guitars and cittern/ Dorothy A. Hawkinson, fiddle and hardingfele – Cambria
A Light in the Forest – Anne Roos, Celtic harp/ Char Berta, tenor recorder, alto recorder, whistle/ Chris Caswell, percussion and harmonium/ Michael Frost, viola/ Alan Fuller, guitars and cittern/ Dorothy A. Hawkinson, fiddle and hardingfele – Cambria multichannel SACD 1166, 74:50 ****1/2:

The half star is simply because I wish that Roos had included some more up-tempo pieces in this wonderful collection. As it is, the thing quickly becomes a little too reflective and slumber-inducing. The first-class booklet takes us through the stories behind the songs, the vast majority arrangements (and sometimes reconsidered dance types, a reel to a hornpipe for instance) while the others “composed” in the spirit of, well, you would just have to take your pick. Take it from me, even the newly-composed pieces are certainly in the spirit of whatever (there are too many works here to categorize properly, but Irish and English they seem to their core), and overall the collection has a wonderful sameness to the style despite some difference in the music’s origin.

Fortunately for all of us this production is not the typical modern Irish set with fusion elements like rock and roll, electronic instruments and such, but beautifully played natural instruments with a velvet softness and spiritually reflective ambiance about them. There is a comforting cushiness about Anne Roos’s playing, as if she knows she was hired to come over to your house and for a while at least take away some of the stress and strain besetting your ever complex and difficult life. These 18 numbers that pack a very full disc are just the thing to unwind to, and don’t feel at all bad if you decide to dose off a little or even curl up with a good book—the music beckons toward just that. But I can tell you one thing—you will feel better after the album is over. Having a delightfully resonant and well-prepared surround sound atmosphere only adds to the real-presence feeling of the production. Wonderful stuff, this, and not only great to listen to but therapeutic as well.

TrackList:
Considine’s Grove
Epping Forest
King of the Fairies
The Fairy Child & The Fairy Queen
The Witch
Craigieburn Wood
Artemisia
Dance of the Firefly
Troolspolska
Roslin Castle & The Woods of Kilmurry
Bottom’s Dream
The Golden Castle
Bears
Robin is to the Greenwood Gone
Three Old English Tunes
Virgin Forest
The Forest Nymph
The Gold Ring

– Steven Ritter  
 




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