Al Petteway,
Caledon Wood
(Maggie's Music, 1997)

Al Petteway's Caledon Wood is an album of instrumentals both contemporary and traditional that are inspired by Celtic music. The instruments used include guitar, mandolin, piano, cello, uillean pipes, bodhran and viola. This is a CD of very high quality music that is played expertly.

Personally, I preferred the interpretation of the more traditional tunes to the newly composed pieces. In fact, my favourite track on the album was first published in 1530. It is the "Pavane," played on guitar, cello, doumbek and tambourine. It has a beautifully authentic Renaissance sound.

"Jack O'Hazeldean" is an old Scottish tune played beautifully on guitar with a haunting cello that begins in the background -- but when the cello takes the fore it becomes an inspirational tune. "Waltz for Rebecca," played on guitar, is another fabulous track.

As with so many instrumental albums, this may not set the charts alight but for anyone who enjoys good music well played it is a small treasure. Although I preferred the traditional pieces, the more contemporary do retain that Celtic spirit. These new tunes may one day become played as traditional, which is how good music matures.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 11 October 2002

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