Hove-based Irish baroque cellist Carina Drury releases debut album

Hove-based Irish baroque cellist Carina Drury has released her debut album Irlandiani – a record she made just before the first lockdown.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 11:00 am
Carina Drury

And with little opportunity to play concerts to mark its release, Carina admits she considered delaying its official arrival into the world.

“But I thought I wanted to release it, that it would be nice to get it out because I am obviously not doing my other usual things this year. It is good to have something creative to focus on. People need music in their lives to listen to more than ever right now.”

The album explores music from 18th-century Ireland using a combination of historical and traditional instruments. Poignantly, the album’s final track is Carolan Farewell To Music: “It’s a really sad, solemn piece. We were playing this and had no idea that we would not be playing any live music for another how many months.”

Picturing the musical life of early 18th-century Ireland, the album explores the influence of Irish traditional music on Italian baroque composers living in Ireland at the time, and how a fashion for the Italian baroque style also influenced the Irish composers of the day.

In collaboration with the Irish flute player Eimear McGeown and using a combination of historical and traditional instruments, the album (available from www.carinadrury.com) explores Irish tunes from The Neal Collection – the first-ever printed collection of Irish music from 1724 – side by side with cello sonatas by Francesco Geminiani and Lorenzo Bocchi, both of whom lived in Ireland in the 18th century.

“I recorded a sonata a couple of years ago for a friend’s album, by an Italian composer who had lived in Ireland. And that gave me the idea to research the influence further. I looked at the musical life of Dublin and what kind of music these composers, living in Dublin, would have heard. And I found this first-ever collection of Irish music that was printed around the time these composers would have been living in Ireland and in fact, an Irish composer wrote a piece that was published with it.

“Dublin was quite a big well-populated city at the time. In London Italian music was really fashionable. That was the trendy baroque music of the day, and Dublin followed.”

Carina recorded the album last March with Eimear McGeown – Irish flute; Aileen Henry – baroque harp; Nathaniel Mander – harpsichord; and Poppy Walshaw – baroque cello continuo.

And when the first lockdown came, she moved down from Croydon to be with her partner in Hove: “There wasn’t a lot of work happening in the music industry, and so I moved out of London. And I love it here.

“The year has been a bit of a mixture really. It was a bit of a shock for everybody, but it was good when things started happening again.”

She has worked online instead: “It is a new thing for me. You can’t have an audience so you bring the music to people in their own homes. And so there have been bits and pieces of work, but obviously without knowing what is going to happen, it makes it very difficult to plan anything. I suppose you just try to go with the flow, and I have been used to having quite an unstable career! I have been mentally prepared for it! But mostly it has been about trying to keep motivated and keep in shape.”