Celtic Princess Reviews

Debbie Friese, 2nd Violin Community Member Marywood University Symphony Orchestra

Dear Karen,
 

"Celtic Princess of the Danube” truly was a very deep and mesmerizing four Dimensional string piece to perform.  At first read, one sees the structured stanzas  with the dynamics indicated on the flat page. As I began to understand  your expressions, following the conductor with your blending of the  sections of instruments to breath or gasp at certain rhythmic tempos,  this is where your composition comes into a "minds-eye" life.  As a  violin player, one can visualize the flowing swirling strands of  effervescence around and thru the finding of the princes by the use of  the string passages you wrote. Truly you are talented and a gift to the  string players as well as a new vision composer. I listen for more of  your works to come to life and be shared."

Sophie Till, Professor of Violin, Marywood University with the Taubman/Golandsky Approach

"All  our students from the youngest child in String Project to our  undergraduate students loved working on the Celtic Princess. Karen wrote  a piece they could all fully engage with and whose story swept them up  in the drama of the music. They loved practicing it and getting to know  their parts and how it all fitted together at the end. She inspired them  through her composition and when she came to work with them for the  concert she brought the whole project to life. The concert was a triumph  for all involved!"

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More reviews

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More reviews

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Celtic Princess of the Danube inspiration

I am grateful to Sophie Till for commissioning me to compose this piece.

Inspiration for Celtic Princess

"Celtic Princess of the Danube” is written in honor of the Celtic Princess that German archaeologists discovered in 2010 in the Danube heartland. A Celtic princess was unearthed with her gold and amber jewelry from 2,600 years ago. This discovery is unique. The heartland of the Celts has been previously thought to be located mainly in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The location of this burial site suggests that maybe Central Europe was very important for the Celts. Celtic art and culture could have had its origins in Southwestern Germany, Eastern France and Switzerland - rather than in the North.


The Celtic Princess had remained in her final resting place since about 609BC. I felt a personal connection to this discovery as I was amazed and attracted to the gold spiral Celtic jewelry that I had seen in a museum in Halstatt while taking Tulsa Honors Orchestra students on a performance tour in Austria in 2008. I am also intrigued by the historical aspect of the Celtic Princess. My Mom’s love of history has influenced me greatly. She is always reading books on Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses.


The Electronic Tape

The Electronic Tape begins with a sonic boom amidst ethereal bells lending to an edgy yet ancient feel. The middle section brings the Celtic Princess to life with her breath....there is running water symbolizing that the burial site was preserved so incredibly well over the 2,600 years because of the water-sodden soil surrounding the site. The ending of the Electronic Tape sends the Celtic Princess off in an ethereal sound world....

Working with a conductor as high caliber as Brenda Leach is a dream come true!

The infinity symbol bowing pattern

The beginning theme is an Irish fiddling reel that my students love to play with its exotic sounding fiddle bowing. When the right arm bows the pattern of the first 8 notes of the Irish fiddle motif, the arm is “drawing” the sideways figure 8 pattern, the symbol for infinity…This piece expresses a sonic idea of boundlessness as the Celtic Princess has been waiting to be discovered for 2,600 years…and now that she has been discovered, she is a mystical force in bringing people of very different backgrounds together.  The Concertmistress, Emily Felker,  will be the Celtic Princess by performing the Solo Violin part which is integral to bringing out the voice of the Celtic Princess. There is an arpeggiated Scheherazade-style solo which leads into a jazzy swing style section for added color to her voice. The middle section incorporates running water sounds as the grave was quite well preserved by the water-sodden soil of the region. The Soloist wails like a Gypsy with arpeggios and slides in a higher register near the end of the piece.    Celtic Princesses are known for their mystical powers and Celtic women were revered for their power and great roles in society. I’m pleased to announce that the “Celtic Princess of the Danube” will be performed by the Marywood University Orchestra, joined by students of Sophie Till of the very well known and established String Project, students of Karen Naifeh Harmon from the Tulsa Honors Chamber Orchestra and the students of the First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School. The backgrounds of these students are so incredibly different from each other.  It is exciting to have this collective group of young orchestral players perform together in harmony so the reign of glowing power and beauty of the Celtic Princess will be revealed.