O'Carolan's Concerto

Listen to 'O'Carolan's Concerto'

O'Carolan's Concerto



Turlough O'Carolan was born in Nobber in Co Meath in 1670 and is regarded as one of the finest composers and harpists that Ireland has ever produced. Dr. Douglas Hyde in his literary history of Ireland stated:

"Although many distinguished harpers flourished during the first quarter of the 18th century, yet Turlough O'Carolan stands pre-eminently as the representative Irish musician of that period."

Seán O'Riada was primarily responsible for reviving the music of O'Carolan, as his solo recordings and recordings with Ceoltóirí Chualann testify. 'O'Carolan's Concerto' was recorded on the disc 'Ceol na Nuasal' (The Music of the Nobility).

The story behind 'O'Carolan's Concerto' is an interesting one. It is said that it was a response to a compositional challenge by Francesco Geminiani, the Italian violinist and composer, during his visit to Dublin.

Many of O'Carolan's compositions are still performed by Irish musicians, such as Planxty, The Chieftains and The Dubliners. Derek Bell, who was a musician with The Chieftains and the first to record two albums of O'Carolan's music, commented on this piece:

"'Carolan's Concerto' could be described as a two-part bouree. It isn't a concerto. You could call it his symphony or concerto if several musicians are sounding together in it."


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