The Bardic Trio – Scots tenor Jamie MacDougall, Welsh harpist Sharon Griffiths and Scots guitarist Matthew McAllister – combine classical sophistication with a penchant for Celtic tradition. So while the songs here by Scots bard Robert Burns, Irish poet Thomas Moore and others rooted in Welsh and Orcadian tradition echo the latter, many are presented in arrangements by such serious composers as Eddie McGuire and Alasdair Nicolson, and also in instrumental form by Griffiths and McAllister themselves. McGuire’s settings of Burns – from the sultry Winter is Past and deliciously ephemeral Ae Fond Kiss, to the exotically-charged Slave’s Lament – are excitingly original without losing touch with the texts. Nicolson’s The Balfour Songbook is a sparkling illumination of three ancient Orkney melodies. Among the Welsh songs, another McGuire setting stands out: his simple treatment of Suo gan, a song made famous in Spielberg’s film Empire of the Sun. Restful listening.
Ken Walton - The Scotsman