Cynthia Cathcart | Joy to the World

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United States - Maryland

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Spiritual: Hymns Folk: Scottish Traditional Moods: Mood: Christmas
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Joy to the World

by Cynthia Cathcart

Carols from varied times and places presented with a fresh voice on harps whose sound hails from a distant time when the Christmas message was new. Wire strung harp and Medieval gut strung Scottish harp.
Genre: Spiritual: Hymns
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Joy to the World
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2:22 $0.99
2. Friendly Beasts
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2:34 $0.99
3. Venite Adoremus/Good Christian Men Rejoice
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2:46 $0.99
4. Da Day Dawis
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3:43 $0.99
5. On Christmas Night/the Changes/Balloo Lammy
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5:42 $0.99
6. Silent Night
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2:56 $0.99
7. Bring a Torch Jeannette, Isabella
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1:32 $0.99
8. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
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1:51 $0.99
9. O Holy Night
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4:15 $0.99
10. Sleep of the Infant Jesus
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2:57 $0.99
11. What Child Is This?
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3:02 $0.99
12. O Come, All Ye Faithful
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2:29 $0.99
13. Ding Dong Merrily On High
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1:59 $0.99
14. Angels We Have Heard On High
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2:11 $0.99
15. Away in a Manger
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2:41 $0.99
16. Lully, Lullay/Good People All
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4:34 $0.99
17. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
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1:49 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Cynthia is an expert on the Clàrsach, the wire-strung harp of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and of Ireland. Performing and teaching internationally, she is a leader in a new wave of interest in the wire-strung harp. Based near Washington, DC, Cynthia represents Ardival Harps of Strathpeffer, Scotland and is their North American Artist in Residence. Cynthia is a recording artist, and the author of several books for the clarsach. She holds a number of prestigious awards, including two-time U.S. National Scottish Harp Master Champion, three time winner of the Clan Lamont Trophy (in Virginia, Texas and Ohio), and holder of the Pennington-Grey Award for service to the wire-strung harp.

Cynthia began her harp career quite by accident, when she inherited a wire strung harp from her stepfather. Kenneth was a performer on the Great Highland Bagpipes, but a heart condition took away the necessary stamina for that instrument. Cynthia‘s mother bought a harp for him at a craft fair, a harp strung with metal strings, on which he played his beloved Scottish tunes. Sadly, he passed away a few years later. The family decided that Cynthia should inherit his harp since she was the musician in the family. The harp arrived at her door in the back of her brother‘s pick–up truck!

After dusting off sad years of neglect that had gathered on the harp, Cynthia began to teach herself how to play. Or, more to the truth, the harp began to teach her with that mystical voice an instrument employs when it finds a musician destined to play it. The fit was natural, as were Cynthia‘s abilities to research and discover the history and music of the wire strung harp.

A concert reviewer once wrote, “When Cynthia began her portion of the program I had the impression of fine china. Very satisfying sound! I really liked the way her pieces flowed from one to the other, and the stories she told, partly in words, partly with her instruments.”


Reviews


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Joe Ross

Beautifully expressive and meditative moments
Two-time U.S. National Scottish Harp Champion Cynthia Cathcart’s second album features traditional Christmas carols, but one discovers that her soothing music is the type of unpretentious watermark that would be a fitting background at any time of the year. Following her well-received debut album “Alchemy of a Rose,” Cathcart’s “Joy to the World” has an alluring emotional depth with sweetly wistful holiday remembrances and auspicious blends of Celtic, new age, and spiritual sensibilities. Plucked with the fingernails, Cynthia’s wire-strung Clarsach harps (known as “The Rose” and “The Kilcoy”) have defining, bell-like voices that reward us with beautifully expressive and meditative moments. The Clarsach’s history can be traced back as far The Picts, and the instrument’s euphonious tones convey archaic images of romanticism from centuries before. Thus, I especially enjoyed her offerings of French carols (e.g. Friendly Beasts, Sleep of the Infant Jesus) dating back to the 13th Century, but it was also a pleasure to hear her self-penned contemporary composition, “The Changes.” Cathcart’s inspiring harp music is performed solo, a stripped-down approach that lends immediacy and accessibility. Also built by Ardival Harps of Scotland, “The Dupplin” is a gut-strung harp that provides mellower radiance on two tracks, “What Child Is This?” and “Angels We Have Heard On High.” Using both wire- and gut-strung harps on “Silent Night,” we are treated to enchanting dynamics in an arrangement that beams with je ne sais quoi. All Cynthia’s arrangements may be found in the book entitled “Carols of Christmas Arranged for the Clarsach,” published by Highland Circle Music. While reverently assuming a devout tone that never forgets the meaning of Christmas, Cynthia Cathcart also breathes a joyful spirit into the more lively favorites of the season. (Joe Ross, Twentynine Palms, CA)