Connaught Winds Blow

 

THE spirit of the late Peg McGrath was a strong presence in this gala of flute styles and ages. "She could play with any man," as Gurteen guru Seamus Tansey put it, perhaps also underlining the maleness of the programme by inviting the unlisted Catherine McEvoy onto the stage.

This was a concert that blew away any notion that there is one Roscommon way of playing. John Wynne and Liam Kelly opened with that characteristic florid, yelping flow of perfectly trimmed ornament, Wynne "crossing over" between the octaves to give a rich texture.

Harry McGowan took The Copperplates "back to front", as he put it, in a wonderful set with Sligo brothers Seamus - and Colm O'Donnell, but Patsy Hanly's passionate breath ornamented rhythm was a genre apart. Contemporary legends all of these, reflected in the large proportion of flute players in the capacity audience, many of whom had travelled the length of the country.

Peter Horan marked out yet another difference - sweeter, more reserved and subtle, lightly bouncing, while Tansey was at an old his best, emphasising the influence which he personally has had on the flute's style.