Daniel Kobialka takes his violin techniques, which incorporate a special warmth and subtlety of phrasing and intonation described by Arthur Fiedler, and adds a bit of Celtic charm to create an entertaining compilation in Celtic Fantasy. On "Greensleeve Fantasy," one finds Daniel Kobialka displaying his violin techniques to his interpretation of the classic, "Greensleeves." "Greensleeve Fantasy" is fashioned with smooth passages which serve to bring a tranquil beauty to the melody. The tonal color is vibrant and the depth and breadth of the strings are a thing of true beauty. "All in a Spring Morn" has a strong emotion-filled presentation. The beauty in the balance of the instruments and strength in the subtle phrases lead the listener into a virtual spring garden vibrant with odors of the season and the season's enchanting melodies. One can feel the Celtic influence immediately on "Wild Mountain Air." The melody has echoes of "Danny Boy" while taking a twist on original elements in the extensive exploration of well-crafted melodic phrases. Kobialka keeps a balance which maintains his violin's melodic presence that never overbears the rhythmic beauty. "Amazing Grace," though one may not consider this a Celtic piece, the interpretation takes on a Celtic ambience with the instrumental accentuations having a powerful Celtic presence. "Auld Lang Syne," the second piece incorporated in the "Celtic Medley," comes in seamlessly. The soothing melodic beauty is a continuation on theme, although once again not considered a Celtic piece. The amazing flute work by Katie McElrath colored masterfully by Kobialka's violin passages make for an astonishing aural adventure. "Loch Lomand," the closing piece in the "Celtic Medley," brings the listener a close examination of the classic beauty in Celtic composition. This captivating melodic piece elevates the Celtic charm of "Celtic Medley" to a magnificent height of ethnic elegance. The Bach piece, Peace in the Meadow, with it's joy-filled melody, takes on a new and pleasing elegance with Kobialka's interpretation. One gets to experience firsthand the mastery of this extremely gifted and talented violinist. The Beethoven piece, Rondo - Violin Concerto, allows Daniel Kobialka to really express himself on his violin. His presentation is meticulous and the vibrance in his phrasings elevates the piece to a new musical plateau. Daniel Kobialka has put together an album that incorporates masterful musicians expressing well thought-out arrangements. Though the Celtic theme does not come across overly impressive, some Celtic spirit does come bleeding through in key passages. This album is more of a presentation of classical music attempting to include Celtic influences into the song structure. Celtic Fantasy is an entertaining compilation of classical pieces spiced with a touch of Celtic flavor. A far cry from the craze of Riverdance, but Celtic enough to please many a lad and lassie.
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AllMusic Review by Larry Belanger