Monday, March 11, 2013

No Second Fiddle

What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle? One has strings, and the other has straangs...

2 down, 1 to go
We usually make our symphony concert selections in the summer, and by the time the concerts rolls around, I can't remember just what I picked.

(another note on the buying ahead...I am so thankful we do. If we waited until this time of year to buy tickets-we never would. Because we are always broke at this time of year. Get them early, and enjoy them during annual business economic slumps.)

I knew Friday's concert was a Celtic something or other, but I had no idea just what other I was getting myself into.

But, like most symphony concerts that I pick, as opposed to the ones I pick for Mr. Hippie's more classical palate, this one did not disappoint.

On Friday night, we had the privilege of hearing Celtic fiddler, Eileen Ivers, in concert. Eileen's parents were immigrants, though she herself was born and bred in the Bronx. She has been called the "Jimi Hendrix of the violin." And she is that good.

Her sound was rather different than some of our other celtic favorites. I think I have come to equate celtic with the sound of Riverdance. But, celtic music also has very similar strains to the blue grass genre. It can been very folksy.

not the best picture of us ever, but at least we got one. too many dates slip by unrecorded.

Eileen Ivers does both the folksy blue grass style and the toe tapping Riverdance style very well. Her music explores the traditional sounds of Irish music as well as pioneering the future of celtic fiddling. Her skill is phenomenal.

Her bow flew across those strings, burning up the notes. She would coax out higher notes than I have ever heard from a violin, and then turn it back around for some railroad train strains. It was amazing and I was amazed!

I love the way celtic concerts go. The whoops and hollers. The sporadic appearance of jiggers. (I know there is a more proper term for the jig dancers, it just currently slips my mind) The drums and the accordions. Unbelievably fun.

It is fun to watch. Fun to listen to. Fun to soak up the energy of the band, the orchestra and the main attraction.
you can watch the whole thing or just a few seconds 
to get a good glimpse of her skill

Before Eileen and company came onstage, the GR Symphony played a few movements from Leon Anderson's Celtic Suite. It was lively, and very well done. Leon Anderson is the composer behind "Sleigh Ride." This Celtic Suite is just as colorful and playful as that well known piece of music. The strains were familiar. They have probably been used in movies and on many albums since he first composed this symphony work. I loved it.


My favorite piece of Eileen's was the Riverdance medley. It involved the symphony, showcased her band and herself, and the dancers made an appearance. For ill or nil, I just really like toe tapping music over pensive music almost any day of the week.

I lied...this was probably my favorite piece. 
Our concertmaster played the with her on this one.

So, my unbiased advice to you would be, if Eileen Ivers ever visits your town to do a concert, run-don't walk-to get your self some tickets. You will have a wonderful concert experience. Your soul will be touched.

And you just may walk away wishing you were Irish.