PATSY REID - Bridging The Gap

PATSY REID - Bridging The Gap
Vertical Records VERTCD088

Another live recording from this year's Celtic Connections, this time "a dramatic and inspiring journey integrates classical and traditional Scottish music, seamlessly marrying the two genres as one".  Well after the PR person at Vertical has finished their Exciting juice let's see.  The group of musicians involved:  Soloist (Patsy Reid of course), 4 fiddles, 2 violas, cello, d-bass, guitar, piano, percussion are of the highest calibre and ensure that the music is played as well as it ever will be - the live recording is a bit close-miked, but really of extraordinary quality.  "Structurally the work takes the form of a violin concerto", containing nine traditional-style tunes utilising each of the modern modes.  Many of these are beautiful little pieces which would easily stand on their own two feet - the group accompany mainly homophonically, with a lot of ostinato and chordal work which acts as a nice support for the soloist to float over.  However, there appears little relating to sonata form in the first movement, and the binary format of the tunes results in little meaningful counterpoint or development.  So, once the breathless PR is ignored, the piece becomes a rather fine Suite for violin and chamber group - with little "classical" about it other than using strings to provide the sort of accompaniments one might expect from many of the best Scottish bands.  As with anything this length there are longeurs but these are outweighed by beautiful touches.  Well worth investigating.

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.