Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We asked some of The New Classical FM’s on-air personalities to help us get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit by sharing some of their favourite Irish song picks. We hope you’ll enjoy!
1. DANNY BOY – There are some who believe this is the national anthem of Ireland (it’s not) but it is an incredibly popular song in Irish communities world wide. Don’t tell anyone that the lyrics were written by an Englishman named Frederic Weatherly in 1913. At least the melody is Irish – the traditional Londonderry Air. There are hundreds of recordings but my favourite is John McDermott.
2. IRISH BLESSING – “May the road rise up to meet you” is the opening line to this ancient Gaelic poem. The sentiments of kindness, compassion and concern are universal and I particularly enjoy the compelling version by the Irish trio “The Priests”.
3. IRISH DANCE – Dublin born composer John Field created this lilting melody that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It’s a tune that’s bursting with life – even though the subtitle is “Go To The Devil”. I like the version with Irish pianist Michael O’Rourke.
1. WILL YE GO, LASSIE, GO? – The Three Irish Tenors (Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Karl Scully) They are the finest male singers of traditional Irish songs. The each have excellent solo careers. The songs I recommend are Danny Boy and Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?
2. ORINOCO FLOW – This song by Enya is from her breakthrough album. She is Ireland’s biggest selling solo artist. Her voice is lovely, light and she has a very unique style.
3. THE WATER IS WIDE – Mary Black. This is a gorgeous Irish folk song and Mary’s rendition of it is beautiful.
1. DIVERTISSEMENT No. 1 – John Field played by Mikael O’Rourke and the London Mozart Players. I’ve loved this piece since the first time I ever heard it. Bouncy, tuneful – a lot of fun. Field was Irish –born but rose to fame by accompanying his teacher Muzio Clementi to Russia – where they loved him!
2. IRISH SYMPHONY – Herbert Hamilton Harty played by the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Bryden Thompson. Another favourite. Lyrical, charming and graceful. Full of lilting melodies.
3. KERRY STRATTON – And I would be remiss if I didn’t include my favourite Irishman – conductor and The New Classical FM host, Kerry Stratton. Not only is a fine and generous man, but his wit, keen intelligence, musical abilities and judge of fine whisky make him a cut above the rest.