Press Release
Bardic music brought back to life after 400 years
Music from the Robert ap Huw Manuscript Volume I
New CD by Paul Dooley OUT NOW !
Callura east, Ennistymon, Co. Clare'''

Paul Dooley, one of Ireland's most accomplished harpers, releases the first in a series of recordings of music from the Robert ap Huw Manuscript. Paul, well known for his playing of Irish dance music, is one of the few people to play the metal-strung harp with his fingernails in the style of the medieval harpers.

Around the year 1613, Robert ap Huw, a young harper from Anglesey, copied transcripts of the ancient harp music of Wales. His manuscript (Lbl Add. MS 14905) is the only surviving fragment of the ancient bardic music that once dominated the Celtic world.

The unique musical notation reproduced in the manuscript has taxed the scholarship of would-be interpreters for centuries. This interpretation is the first to make sense of the entire manuscript. It is the result of decades of intensive research by the harper and musicologist Peter Greenhill.

The album was recorded at Áras Éanna, Inis Oírr, Co. Galway over a period of 6 weeks. The harp used for these recordings is of the classic medieval design and based on the Brian Boru Harp - metal-strung with a one-piece soundbox carved out of a solid block of willow.

All the available evidence suggests that this is the kind of music described in 1188 by Giraldus de Barri :

"...It is wonderful how, in such precipitate rapidity of the fingers, the musical proportions are preserved, and by their art faultless throughout: in the midst of their complicated modulations, and most intricate arrangement of notes, by a rapidity so sweet, a regularity so irregular, a concord so discordant, the melody is rendered harmonious...that all may be perfected in the sweetness of delicious sounds. They enter upon, and again leave, their modulations with so much subtlety; and the tinklings of the small strings sport with so much freedom under the deep notes of the bass, delight with so much delicacy, and soothe so softly, that the excellence of their art seems to lie in concealing it."

This is the first album to be comprised solely of this majestic music, bringing it to a wide audience after 400 years.


For more information contact
Paul Dooley


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