David Davidson

Celtic Fantasy

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David Davidson is a classically trained violinist who played with symphony orchestras early in his career, turned to non-classical session work in Nashville in the 1980s, and has made a series of instrumental albums on various themes. He is also of Irish-Scots heritage, though an American native, which would seem to give him some insight into Celtic music. But this collection of original compositions turns out to be well-named only if "fantasy" is taken in the musical sense of "fantasia," a composer's free writing, often based on familiar themes. It is not an album of true Celtic music, but rather one of music by a classical composer toying with certain elements of Celtic music. Instruments like the Bodhran and whistle turn up here and there, and the melodies suggest that the composer is familiar with Celtic music, but there is none of the excitement, pathos, or spontaneity of real Celtic music here. Davidson has distilled and formalized it, turned it into something for a museum or a concert hall. Doubtless his effort represents scholarship and effort, but he might have done well to take his violin into a few Irish pubs, order a pint or two, and play with some real Celtic musicians instead of staying home in Nashville and turning out this pallid imitation.

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