Doug Hammer | Celtique

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New Age: Celtic New Age World: Celtic Moods: Featuring Piano
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Celtique

by Doug Hammer

New Age piano meets Celtic tradition in Doug Hammer's new original album.
Genre: New Age: Celtic New Age
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Celtique (Daybreak)
5:38 $0.99
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2. Through the Mist
5:35 $0.99
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3. Wandering Path
3:40 $0.99
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4. Crumbling Wall
3:26 $0.99
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5. Ancient Stones
5:02 $0.99
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6. She Beckons
3:14 $0.99
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7. To the Sea
2:45 $0.99
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8. Wind and Waves
2:42 $0.99
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9. Calm Water
4:44 $0.99
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10. Safe Harbor
3:39 $0.99
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11. Voices of the Past
4:56 $0.99
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12. Golden Land
4:48 $0.99
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13. Moss and Earth
4:12 $0.99
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14. Journey Home
5:14 $0.99
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15. Celtique (Twilight)
3:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Celtique, Doug Hammer’s twelfth release, tells the story of a fisherman: a day in his life from daybreak to twilight. It also tells his whole story. All the songs have double meanings, like Through the Mist and Journey Home. The album begins and ends the same way, like an unbroken, sacred circle.

I was inspired by my love of Celtic music, as well as the places, cultures and traditions I have experienced. My wife is originally from Brittany, France. It is an ancient place, settled millions of years ago. There are standing stones, menhirs, placed in alignments over 6,000 years ago in Carnac, similar to Stonehenge. My love of the sea came from there.

From my time in England to many visits in Brittany to experiencing Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec, I have been steeped in the sights and sounds of this amazing Celtic culture. As you listen to his tale, I invite you to peek through the fog, smell the sea, hear the distant waves and discover the ancient landscape that holds so many stories that can never be told…

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Reviews


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Steve Sheppard

A sublime, emotive release
Doug Hammer is back with a storybook album entitled Celtique, a musical journey that will emphasise a day in the life of a fisherman in the regions where I have lived, the regions of the Celts.
Let’s climb aboard this musical boat with the artist and as we do so we have our sailing music entitled Celtique (Daybreak). This is one amazingly powerful composition to start with, the magic of this piece is the performance of the artist, he gathers pace like the wind, settles us back down and then once again, we are off in a powerful embrace of the ocean in tone and sound.
The following piece offers a sight I have seen many times myself, it can be beyond eerie and called Through the Mist. One can imagine the boat settling into a routine flow from harbour to the main drift of the outer reaches of the bay and carving a straight line through the early morning mist. It is a sight to behold I can tell you, and Doug Hammer has manifested one very clever sound track for that moment within this very arrangement.
The world from which I came from is full of reminders of the ancient past; some now are just monoliths of a yesteryear, ignored by many other than the few with an enquiring mind. Here Hammer elaborates on the scenery around the Celtic headlands where you may well find an old tired Wandering Path. The careful and intelligent performance here draws a breath taking musical narrative of past and present almost coalescing, so that those venturing minds may once again wonder down those pathways of history.
I once walked an old path way and found the subject matter of this next piece covered in Ivy and weeds, but still proudly standing after many years. Crumbling Wall is a truly emotive offering that offers up one of the most outstanding performances from the release. Like the preceding composition it graces us musical memories of the past, and then reveals them in a reflective moment of a hesitant future. This is probably one of the most ambient arrangements I have heard from Hammer.
Across most of Western Europe you will find stones, these monolithic sentinels of time and tide still stand, weather beaten and unbowed to this day and after hearing this next song entitled Ancient Stones, I am now convinced that the artist has created the perfect anthem for them. The offering starts with a reflective pose, but manifests itself into something emotionally charged and melodic, this is indeed one of my favourite compositions from the album.
On She Beckons, we have a musical narrative that creates a sensitive reality of mystery, Hammers plays so intently, but with a great deal of care and attention it is a delight to float upon, then once the pattern is set, a distinct sense of movement can be heard in the ever increasing Celtic tempo. If you ever wanted to hear an arrangement that offers up the very best of build and progression in a track, this is the piece.
We now have two shorter offerings back to back as we return to the day of the fisherman, this one is called To The Sea and has a really empowering sense of onward movement, the delightfully happy refrain here adds power to the piece and one can feel it increasing with each note played, while on Wind and Waves we have the reality of being out there among the vast swathes of the all-powerful ocean and its own moods, sometimes tender and tremulous, sometimes violent and cruel.
However, when we arrive at the next offering a whole different mood falls over our voyage, as we find Calm Water. This gentle performance eases our soul after the tumult of the moments before. Hammer plays with heart here and creates a musical twinkling of peace and calm after the storm. The flow of this offering is again almost anthem like in its construction, which makes it extremely appealing to listen to.
After the easy nature of the last piece, our musical boat moves towards home, and for the first time we can now see on the horizon the ever pleasurable sight of our Safe Harbour. The boat is packed with the booty that it set out for, now all we need to do is rely on the winds and allow this journey of plenitude to take us safely home. Hammer has produced a perfectly sun kissed offering here, one that is so obviously bathed in a deep felt sense of gratitude.
As we tie up at Harbour, the evening seems to be setting in all around us and if we gaze back upon the sparkling ocean perhaps we can hear messages or even Voices of the Past. On this almost spiritual performance that begins this musical tale, one can truly resonate with those voices that echo in labyrinths of the sea. Hammers presentation of this offering breaks eventually a wonderfully melodic energy, and continually floats around us like the spectres of a bygone era.
We now move deeper into the release and come across a charming offering called Golden Land. When I first listened to this, it reminded me of that old folk song “Will you go” the melody is packed with an age filled, yet timeless motif, one that assures us that no matter how long we live in these lands for, providing we always treat them with respect, they will always be our golden lands. This is one of the most moving pieces off the album and one that increases with an emotional intent whilst caressing the senses.
I found Moss and Earth easily the most intriguing offering on the album; the deeper notes giving us the grounding that we need to start this next musical sojourn with. This is a clever performance and probably the one least expected, however it does give us a musical insight to the lands surrounding the deeper borderlands of the green forests. I have listened to this piece several times; there is something quite brilliantly addictive about its nature and latent intensity.
This has been a truly beautiful journey, but every voyage has to end at some stage. This is our penultimate offering from the artist called Journey Home. This seemed so memorable, until my classical musical head kicked in and I could feel Dvorak’s New World Symphony going home with us along that final voyage of the day.
Our final gift from Doug Hammer’s musical bag of plenty is a return to the opening piece, but the evening version of the arrangement, Celtique (Twilight). As you would expect the artist has created something very respectful and easy as we now settle down from the days endeavour’s and ease back into the night, with the sound of the sea forever in our soul.
In my opinion I believe Celtique to be the best work Doug Hammer has created since the release of Heart in 2013. Hammer has worked hard at this album that much is clear, he has performed with his heart on his sleeve and truly felt each and every nuance of the day of a Celtic Fisherman, and much more than that, he has captured the very essence of the area in a loving but poignant way. Full marks indeed Doug Hammer, for what is a sublime and quite emotive release, one that conjures up some fantastic images to get totally lost within.
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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Celtique" is the twelfth album by pianist/composer/producer Doug Hammer, and this time all fifteen tracks are solo piano! Hammer’s releases have been exceptionally varied and "Celtique" is unlike any of the others. It is about a day in the life of a fisherman, but it also tells the fisherman’s whole story. Four years in the making, "Celtique" was inspired by Hammer’s love of Celtic music as well as “the places, cultures and traditions I have experienced.” His wife is from Brittany, the Celtic area of France and the site of some of the world’s oldest standing architecture. I have reviewed all of Doug’s albums and have been fortunate to see him play live on many occasions - including a house concert in my home a couple of years ago. He never fails to blow me away with his creativity, sensitivity and mastery of the piano. A true artist in every sense of the word, Hammer continues to grow and to explore new territory with his music. Although he is usually categorized as a “new age” pianist, Hammer’s music frequently defies any categories. "Celtique" ranges from quiet and serene to majestic to highly energetic, but it is always beautiful and very expressive - and likely to be up for several awards (or should be!).

"Celtique" begins and ends with the title track “like an unbroken, sacred circle.” The main difference between the two versions is that after the quiet introductory (and closing) theme, “Daybreak” becomes a lively, exuberant dance and then calms somewhat - an intriguing start! “Through The Mist” opens mysteriously and feels very much like being in the midst of a dense fog - cool, still and a little bit spooky. The second theme is livelier and more dance-like with traditional Celtic folk rhythms. The third theme is powerful and dramatic before returning to a quieter version of the second theme - I love this piece! As its title suggests, the melody of “Wandering Path” meanders gracefully while the left hand keeps an easy walking pace. One of the recurring themes shimmers like sunlight on water and then the walking tempo returns. On “Crumbling Wall,” Hammer makes great use of the piano’s dampers to create an atmospheric effect. More ambient than melodic, it suggests images and a sense of place. The beginning of “She Beckons” feels very ancient before becoming more of a folk song/dance. The middle of the piece is passionate and very dramatic - another favorite. “To The Sea” is bold and almost triumphant, suggesting the excitement of setting sail with the wind in your hair and a big grin on your face! “Wind and Waves” is my favorite piece on the album. Also very big and dramatic, the heavy chords in the deep bass of the piano suggest waves tossing the fishing boat around as a storm rages. Undoubtedly, it was/is in such a setting that many fishermen have been swept away, never to return home. “Calm Water” is the opposite of the previous track, describing the tranquility that comes over the seas after a big storm. “Voices of the Past” has a very still, haunting quality that is both poignant and profound and is likely experienced often while being in an area that was inhabited more than 3 million years ago. “Moss and Earth” is another favorite. Often a study in contrasts - the deep bass and highest treble of the piano, subdued and quiet along with lively and forceful - it tells a fascinating story. The closing version of the title track, subtitled “Twilight,” is almost two minutes shorter than the opening track and brings the album to a quiet, peaceful end.

"Celtique" is very highly recommended!
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Steve Sheppard

Full marks to Doug Hammer for a sublime release
Doug Hammer is back with a storybook album entitled Celtique, a musical journey that will emphasise a day in the life of a fisherman in the regions where I have lived, the regions of the Celts.
Let’s climb aboard this musical boat with the artist and as we do so we have our sailing music entitled Celtique (Daybreak). This is one amazingly powerful composition to start with, the magic of this piece is the performance of the artist, he gathers pace like the wind, settles us back down and then once again, we are off in a powerful embrace of the ocean in tone and sound.
The following piece offers a sight I have seen many times myself, it can be beyond eerie and called Through the Mist. One can imagine the boat settling into a routine flow from harbour to the main drift of the outer reaches of the bay and carving a straight line through the early morning mist. It is a sight to behold I can tell you, and Doug Hammer has manifested one very clever sound track for that moment within this very arrangement.
The world from which I came from is full of reminders of the ancient past; some now are just monoliths of a yesteryear, ignored by many other than the few with an enquiring mind. Here Hammer elaborates on the scenery around the Celtic headlands where you may well find an old tired Wandering Path. The careful and intelligent performance here draws a breath taking musical narrative of past and present almost coalescing, so that those venturing minds may once again wonder down those pathways of history.
I once walked an old path way and found the subject matter of this next piece covered in Ivy and weeds, but still proudly standing after many years. Crumbling Wall is a truly emotive offering that offers up one of the most outstanding performances from the release. Like the preceding composition it graces us musical memories of the past, and then reveals them in a reflective moment of a hesitant future. This is probably one of the most ambient arrangements I have heard from Hammer.
Across most of Western Europe you will find stones, these monolithic sentinels of time and tide still stand, weather beaten and unbowed to this day and after hearing this next song entitled Ancient Stones, I am now convinced that the artist has created the perfect anthem for them. The offering starts with a reflective pose, but manifests itself into something emotionally charged and melodic, this is indeed one of my favourite compositions from the album.
On She Beckons, we have a musical narrative that creates a sensitive reality of mystery, Hammers plays so intently, but with a great deal of care and attention it is a delight to float upon, then once the pattern is set, a distinct sense of movement can be heard in the ever increasing Celtic tempo. If you ever wanted to hear an arrangement that offers up the very best of build and progression in a track, this is the piece.
We now have two shorter offerings back to back as we return to the day of the fisherman, this one is called To The Sea and has a really empowering sense of onward movement, the delightfully happy refrain here adds power to the piece and one can feel it increasing with each note played, while on Wind and Waves we have the reality of being out there among the vast swathes of the all-powerful ocean and its own moods, sometimes tender and tremulous, sometimes violent and cruel.
However, when we arrive at the next offering a whole different mood falls over our voyage, as we find Calm Water. This gentle performance eases our soul after the tumult of the moments before. Hammer plays with heart here and creates a musical twinkling of peace and calm after the storm. The flow of this offering is again almost anthem like in its construction, which makes it extremely appealing to listen to.
After the easy nature of the last piece, our musical boat moves towards home, and for the first time we can now see on the horizon the ever pleasurable sight of our Safe Harbour. The boat is packed with the booty that it set out for, now all we need to do is rely on the winds and allow this journey of plenitude to take us safely home. Hammer has produced a perfectly sun kissed offering here, one that is so obviously bathed in a deep felt sense of gratitude.
As we tie up at Harbour, the evening seems to be setting in all around us and if we gaze back upon the sparkling ocean perhaps we can hear messages or even Voices of the Past. On this almost spiritual performance that begins this musical tale, one can truly resonate with those voices that echo in labyrinths of the sea. Hammers presentation of this offering breaks eventually a wonderfully melodic energy, and continually floats around us like the spectres of a bygone era.
We now move deeper into the release and come across a charming offering called Golden Land. When I first listened to this, it reminded me of that old folk song “Will you go” the melody is packed with an age filled, yet timeless motif, one that assures us that no matter how long we live in these lands for, providing we always treat them with respect, they will always be our golden lands. This is one of the most moving pieces off the album and one that increases with an emotional intent whilst caressing the senses.
I found Moss and Earth easily the most intriguing offering on the album; the deeper notes giving us the grounding that we need to start this next musical sojourn with. This is a clever performance and probably the one least expected, however it does give us a musical insight to the lands surrounding the deeper borderlands of the green forests. I have listened to this piece several times; there is something quite brilliantly addictive about its nature and latent intensity.
This has been a truly beautiful journey, but every voyage has to end at some stage. This is our penultimate offering from the artist called Journey Home. This seemed so memorable, until my classical musical head kicked in and I could feel Dvorak’s New World Symphony going home with us along that final voyage of the day.
Our final gift from Doug Hammer’s musical bag of plenty is a return to the opening piece, but the evening version of the arrangement, Celtique (Twilight). As you would expect the artist has created something very respectful and easy as we now settle down from the days endeavour’s and ease back into the night, with the sound of the sea forever in our soul.
In my opinion I believe Celtique to be the best work Doug Hammer has created since the release of Heart in 2013. Hammer has worked hard at this album that much is clear, he has performed with his heart on his sleeve and truly felt each and every nuance of the day of a Celtic Fisherman, and much more than that, he has captured the very essence of the area in a loving but poignant way. Full marks indeed Doug Hammer, for what is a sublime and quite emotive release, one that conjures up some fantastic images to get totally lost within.
Read more...

Steve Sheppard

Full marks to Doug Hammer for a sublime release
Doug Hammer is back with a storybook album entitled Celtique, a musical journey that will emphasise a day in the life of a fisherman in the regions where I have lived, the regions of the Celts.
Let’s climb aboard this musical boat with the artist and as we do so we have our sailing music entitled Celtique (Daybreak). This is one amazingly powerful composition to start with, the magic of this piece is the performance of the artist, he gathers pace like the wind, settles us back down and then once again, we are off in a powerful embrace of the ocean in tone and sound.
The following piece offers a sight I have seen many times myself, it can be beyond eerie and called Through the Mist. One can imagine the boat settling into a routine flow from harbour to the main drift of the outer reaches of the bay and carving a straight line through the early morning mist. It is a sight to behold I can tell you, and Doug Hammer has manifested one very clever sound track for that moment within this very arrangement.
The world from which I came from is full of reminders of the ancient past; some now are just monoliths of a yesteryear, ignored by many other than the few with an enquiring mind. Here Hammer elaborates on the scenery around the Celtic headlands where you may well find an old tired Wandering Path. The careful and intelligent performance here draws a breath taking musical narrative of past and present almost coalescing, so that those venturing minds may once again wonder down those pathways of history.
I once walked an old path way and found the subject matter of this next piece covered in Ivy and weeds, but still proudly standing after many years. Crumbling Wall is a truly emotive offering that offers up one of the most outstanding performances from the release. Like the preceding composition it graces us musical memories of the past, and then reveals them in a reflective moment of a hesitant future. This is probably one of the most ambient arrangements I have heard from Hammer.
Across most of Western Europe you will find stones, these monolithic sentinels of time and tide still stand, weather beaten and unbowed to this day and after hearing this next song entitled Ancient Stones, I am now convinced that the artist has created the perfect anthem for them. The offering starts with a reflective pose, but manifests itself into something emotionally charged and melodic, this is indeed one of my favourite compositions from the album.
On She Beckons, we have a musical narrative that creates a sensitive reality of mystery, Hammers plays so intently, but with a great deal of care and attention it is a delight to float upon, then once the pattern is set, a distinct sense of movement can be heard in the ever increasing Celtic tempo. If you ever wanted to hear an arrangement that offers up the very best of build and progression in a track, this is the piece.
We now have two shorter offerings back to back as we return to the day of the fisherman, this one is called To The Sea and has a really empowering sense of onward movement, the delightfully happy refrain here adds power to the piece and one can feel it increasing with each note played, while on Wind and Waves we have the reality of being out there among the vast swathes of the all-powerful ocean and its own moods, sometimes tender and tremulous, sometimes violent and cruel.
However, when we arrive at the next offering a whole different mood falls over our voyage, as we find Calm Water. This gentle performance eases our soul after the tumult of the moments before. Hammer plays with heart here and creates a musical twinkling of peace and calm after the storm. The flow of this offering is again almost anthem like in its construction, which makes it extremely appealing to listen to.
After the easy nature of the last piece, our musical boat moves towards home, and for the first time we can now see on the horizon the ever pleasurable sight of our Safe Harbour. The boat is packed with the booty that it set out for, now all we need to do is rely on the winds and allow this journey of plenitude to take us safely home. Hammer has produced a perfectly sun kissed offering here, one that is so obviously bathed in a deep felt sense of gratitude.
As we tie up at Harbour, the evening seems to be setting in all around us and if we gaze back upon the sparkling ocean perhaps we can hear messages or even Voices of the Past. On this almost spiritual performance that begins this musical tale, one can truly resonate with those voices that echo in labyrinths of the sea. Hammers presentation of this offering breaks eventually a wonderfully melodic energy, and continually floats around us like the spectres of a bygone era.
We now move deeper into the release and come across a charming offering called Golden Land. When I first listened to this, it reminded me of that old folk song “Will you go” the melody is packed with an age filled, yet timeless motif, one that assures us that no matter how long we live in these lands for, providing we always treat them with respect, they will always be our golden lands. This is one of the most moving pieces off the album and one that increases with an emotional intent whilst caressing the senses.
I found Moss and Earth easily the most intriguing offering on the album; the deeper notes giving us the grounding that we need to start this next musical sojourn with. This is a clever performance and probably the one least expected, however it does give us a musical insight to the lands surrounding the deeper borderlands of the green forests. I have listened to this piece several times; there is something quite brilliantly addictive about its nature and latent intensity.
This has been a truly beautiful journey, but every voyage has to end at some stage. This is our penultimate offering from the artist called Journey Home. This seemed so memorable, until my classical musical head kicked in and I could feel Dvorak’s New World Symphony going home with us along that final voyage of the day.
Our final gift from Doug Hammer’s musical bag of plenty is a return to the opening piece, but the evening version of the arrangement, Celtique (Twilight). As you would expect the artist has created something very respectful and easy as we now settle down from the days endeavour’s and ease back into the night, with the sound of the sea forever in our soul.
In my opinion I believe Celtique to be the best work Doug Hammer has created since the release of Heart in 2013. Hammer has worked hard at this album that much is clear, he has performed with his heart on his sleeve and truly felt each and every nuance of the day of a Celtic Fisherman, and much more than that, he has captured the very essence of the area in a loving but poignant way. Full marks indeed Doug Hammer, for what is a sublime and quite emotive release, one that conjures up some fantastic images to get totally lost within.
Read more...

Pam Asberry

An absolute must for lovers of solo piano and/or Celtic music!
“Celtique,” Doug Hammer’s twelfth release, tells the story of a fisherman: a day in his life from daybreak to twilight. Inspired by his love of Celtic music as well as places and cultures he has experienced, Doug Hammer has created a masterpiece.

“Celtique” begins and ends with the title track “like an unbroken, sacred circle.” The first one, subtitled “Daybreak,” starts quietly but quickly develops into a spirited, joyful dance. “Through The Mist” opens with rich, sustained bass that supports a simple melody played in the middle register of the piano, then shifts to a contrasting theme that is both robust and haunting that almost sounded like it was being played on a hammered dulcimer, concluding with the second theme played in a whisper. “Wandering Path” begins with a repetitive bass pattern played at walking tempo beneath a simple right hand melody, changes to a second theme that shimmers like the wings of a hummingbird, then returns to the original theme. “Crumbling Wall” is an atmospheric sound painting; as the colorful, almost impressionistic chords ripple downward one can almost smell the earth and feel the roughness of the stone while walking along the ancient structure. This ambience continues with “Ancient Stones,” an elegant processional with open intervals pulsing in the left hand beneath a right hand melody both poignant and powerful in its simplicity as it alternates between the upper and middle registers of the piano.

“She Beckons” initially brought to mind the legend of the Sirens, alluring and mysterious, before changing to a passionate Celtic dance. The exuberant “To the Sea” encapsulates those feelings of excitement and optimism experienced when one embarks upon a long-anticipated journey. “Wind and Waves” describes that journey, which turns out to be a perilous one, with sonic representations of thunder, lightning and wind indicating that the ship is in grave peril. One can almost feel that sting of the ocean spray and the turbulence of the sea beneath! But all ends well with “Calm Water,” a musical depiction of peace settling over the ocean at the conclusion of the storm and sunlight sparkling over the smooth surface of the water. “Voices of the Past” pays homage to previous generations, their strength and courage a source of inspiration and courage in the present day. The hymn-like “Golden Land” is followed by “Moss and Earth,” its two contrasting themes serene and beautiful. “Journey Home” offers reflections of time well spent before the dreamlike closing track, subtitled “Twilight,” brings the day in the life of the fisherman to a tranquil finish.

Although this album deserves to be listened to in its entirety, the individual tracks are so strong individually that it is impossible for me to identify any particular favorites. I loved them all! Fans of solo piano and/or Celtic, this is an absolute must for your collections. Very highly recommended!
Read more...