Aureole Trio

Celtic Grace: Airs, Dances and Ballads from Ireland

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The Auréole Trio consists of flutist Laura Gilbert, violist Mary Hammann, and harpist Stacey Shames, an instrumental combination ideal for Irish folk music. For a classical ensemble to keep its performances from sounding stilted and drained of spontaneity, it's crucial to stay close to the music's folk roots, and the self-effacing arrangements Auréole uses are completely successful at that, avoiding any fanciness and letting the music speak for itself. While the listener never entirely forgets that this is a classical ensemble, the performances are so direct and unaffected that the music seems perfectly and naturally suited to these instruments. The selection here includes a wide variety of pieces, from the very familiar to the more obscure and newly composed. Some of the more rambunctious pieces may lack the wildness and roughness of a performance by folk musicians playing folk instruments, but that shortcoming is more than compensated for in the more lyrical selections, where the ensemble's sweet and velvety tone makes the music shimmer. The sound quality is warm and intimate. This attractive collection should be of interest to any (except the most purist) fans of Celtic music.

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