Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis
Fiddler Alasdair Fraser may well make you dizzy with this extraordinary collection of Scottish fiddle music. Twenty-one tracks showcase why fiddle tunes are considered such wondrous creations. Essential delights of life itself, the fiddle tune is a composition that belies its frequent simple melody as it pours forth an elusive musical wonder. Paul Machlis accompanies Fraser on piano, creating a mood that is not always traditional "folk" yet still capturing the pure essence. The remarkable voicings of these tunes are a reminder that, while some are the progeny of the distant past ("traditional"), many were composed by known individuals who are properly credited with their works. Others, still, are contemporary. I especially enjoy when a fiddle melody flows into an effective medley of tunes. About half the recordings are medleys, and each time I try to pick a favorite like, say, James Hill's (b. 1813) "Earl Grey" and J. Scott Skinner's (1843-1927) "The Left Handed Fiddler," I'll listen to another and be equally swayed. You'll have to pick your own. Since at least the 1700s, Scottish fiddlers created tunes that are uniquely theirs. Rarely has a collection of reels, strathspeys, and hornpipes come together with such a fine ear for arrangement and album tune sequence. A very satisfying listening experience. - Richard Dorsett
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