US - California - Full Moon 39 - 12/22/99
Susan Craig Winsberg
La Belle Dame
The flute is a lonely instrument. Classical is the realm of strings,
jazz the home to the saxophone, blues the land of guitar and harmonica.
With the exception of the occasional Jethro Tull song on the radio, one
does not hear much flute in modern music. Fortunately, the flute, and its
cousin, the recorder, have found a home on this beautiful collection of
Celtic and Poetic songs.
Susan Craig Winsberg performs, as the album's subtitle suggests, the
"Music of Love, Longing and Sorrow in the Celtic and Poetic Traditions"
on modern flutes, traditional flutes, whistles and recorders, backed by
many other traditional instruments, including pedal harp, archlute and
Celtic harp, giving the album a delightful acoustic/analog feel in this
A soothing collection of instrumental and vocal pieces, both traditional
arrangements and modern compositions by Winsberg, the vocalists here are
Susan McKeown, Kathleen Fisher and Molly Pasutti. But it is Winsberg's playing
that best reflects the mood, from early longing in the opening Sea-Longing
to the celebratory The Soldier's Song, only a few tracks along.
More than the diversity of the music and the variety of instruments played
- including bass and alto flutes and a 19th Century wooden flute - one is struck
by the sonic landscape, how one song moves into the next effortlessly, as centuries
old ancestral scores find kindred spirits among modern creations. The Poetic songs
here are favorite poems set to music, including the album's title source: John Keats'
La Belle Dame sans Merci. Without musical accompaniment, lyrics often read
like bad poetry, but when good poetry is set to good music, the union is gloriously
So stoke up the fire, grab a pint of Guinness, and let your ears relish in this
traditional soundscape performed with a modern sensibility.
For further information, visit the
official Craig site.
Copyright © 1999 J. A. Gilbert