O’Carolan Favorites for Classical Guitar
O’Carolan Arr. Guido Boger
Mel Bay: 100 pages
Reviewed 27th September 2018
This book has in it no less than seventy three pieces of O’Carolan, and like his previous book of the harpist’s arrangements (also Mel Bay published) he uses a mix of the Baroque and the folk elements to create them. Indeed as readers may know, O’Carolans’s pieces have come down to us via a large bunch of melodies only, so anyone creating a piece has to consider the style in which to do so, and the mix of the Irish folk , and the Baroque seems the most appropriate .
I have seen a few O’Carolan books before but unless you are an aficionado a group of seventy three of them is bound to have dozens you haven’t come across before. The greater majority of them are named after people he came across in his travels, and indeed very few are not named so.
One element of nearly all of these pieces is the amount of decoration that they’re given, and without seeing the originals I don’t know if they are true O’Carolan , or not but they sometimes add significantly to the difficulty factor, effective though they usually are.
With so many pieces it seems churlish to pick a few out but they vary between the out and out jig style of piece, as in Lady Blayney, to the slow haunting style as portrayed in Mrs Bermingham, , First Air.
All these pieces are very contrasting, intermediate to difficult, and a wonderful collection to go through.