Highland Cathedral

Highland Cathedral

4.6 7
by Phil Coulter
     
 

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Rare is the album that's so good you can hardly stop drinking it in. Irish composer Phil Coulter's HIGHLAND CATHEDRAL is just such an album. Coulter taps the sturdy stuff of old Protestant hymns, touches the mists of Irish laments, and grabs the rushing pulse of primal Irish drums. His weaving of solo piano, string orchestra, voices, and

Overview

Rare is the album that's so good you can hardly stop drinking it in. Irish composer Phil Coulter's HIGHLAND CATHEDRAL is just such an album. Coulter taps the sturdy stuff of old Protestant hymns, touches the mists of Irish laments, and grabs the rushing pulse of primal Irish drums. His weaving of solo piano, string orchestra, voices, and Irish instruments is a thoroughly noble effort. "Highland Cathedral" begins with a touching piano solo and is then delicately augmented by violins and strengthened by basses. On later verses, Coulter adds solo bagpipe and then a pipe band, finally topped by a church organ. "Going Home," an arrangement of a Dvorák theme, was written in tribute to golfer Payne Stewart. A lone piper braves the wind and rain (just as one walked the lonely fairway at Stewart's service); with simple piano and string accompaniment, Coulter retains the original's sublime intimacy. Featured on a number of songs is the lovely voice of Aoife: Her vocalise is victorious on the march "Tranquility," moving on the historical ballad "If These Stones Could Speak," and determinedly reverential on "Pilgrim's Way." Coulter occasionally invigorates the album with fun, such as the pounding drums of "The Gathering -- Beltane" and the humorously mischievous "Coultergeist." But hymn gets the final word. Written to dedicate the bark-shaped church in Donegal, and sung by Aoife, "Our Island Barque" could become one of the greatest hymns of all time. Typically for Coulter, the piece builds from a wheezy church organ to a transformative climax with the heart-melting harmonies of the Voice Squad. If you've lost faith in music -- if you've lost faith at all -- listen to this album.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Phil Coulter's Highland Cathedral collects more of his lush Celtic fusion pieces, which blend traditional instruments such as uilleann pipes, whistles, piano, accordion, and strings with contemporary-sounding synths. "Our Island Barque," "Going Home," and "The Enchanted Glen" define the album's lilting, relaxing feel, and Aoife's delicate vocals on "If These Stones Could Speak" and the title track add another soothing, ethereal dimension to Highland Cathedral, an album that will please Coulter fans as well as anyone fond of atmospheric, new age-inspired Celtic music.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2000
Label:
Imports
UPC:
0090266361526
catalogNumber:
897640

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Phil Coulter   Primary Artist,Piano
Noel Bridgeman   Snare Drums
Gerry Cullen   Background Vocals
David Leonard   Track Performer
Fran McPhail   Background Vocals
Frank Gallagher   Fiddle,Viola,Human Whistle
Ivan Gilliland   Guitar,Mandolin
Ken Rice   Violin
Brendan Monaghan   Percussion,Pipe,Human Whistle
Phil Callery   Background Vocals
Rory McCarron   Percussion
Roy Arbuckle   Percussion
Alison Hood   Cello
Brona Cahill   Violin
Catherine Mary Clancy   Harp
Louis Roden   Violin
Joachim Roewer   Viola
Rachel Walker   Viola
Gillian Williams   Violin
Kathy Aldous   Violin
Mark Jenkins   Bass
Aoife   Vocals
Dermot Byrne   Accordion
Bill Butt   Cello
Nicola Cleary   Violin
Different Drums of Ireland   Track Performer
Diane Daly   Violin

Technical Credits

Phil Coulter   Arranger,Producer
Elaine Clark   Orchestra Director
Tony Harris   Engineer
Dave Gold   Arranger
Janet DeMatteis   Art Direction

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Highland Cathedral 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is absolutely GREAT! The best thing to have in the computer to help cope with the stress of the job and let me tune out the rest of the world! I've always loved ''Flowers of the Forest'' and he does an exceptional job on it as well as ''Highland Cathedral''. An all around truly enjoyable listening experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One doesn't have to be born in Scotland or Ireland to be moved by this CD, amazing, I am glad you can't wear out a CD. He puts in music, what can't be said.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coulter takes his listener on a mystic time warp into an ancient land, its people and his own being. It is inspiring, uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable. I think it is his very best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome, peaceful, yet unique cd both harkening toward the past and moving toward the future.
steveRI More than 1 year ago
The Cd has some excellent arrangements, but some are only good. You may find yourself playing only the excellent arrangements.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the Phil Couter recording as it was played on our bus as background music as we toured Ireland. But when I bought the record and listened to it carefully I found that every song was performed the same way: a slow solo start that builds to a rousing finish. Great! But how many banana splits can you eat in a single session?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coulter takes traditional instruments and themes and weaves them into a fresh, contemporary sound. Songs range from the traditional ''Flow Gently Sweet Afton'' to a delightful, original compostion, ''Coultergeist.'' Mostly piano with and without accompaniment except for ''The Gathering-Bealtaine'' which features five bodhrans. ''Highland Cathedral'' is majestic!