An Ode to Turlough
An Ode to Turlough (3:25) – Jim Fidler (©2014 Jim Fidler)
Composed, arranged and performed by Jim Fidler
Recorded, mixed and mastered, by Jim Fidler, at the Roots Cellar, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Illustration by Don Hynes
Graphic design and image realization by Lillian Fidler
Artistic concept by Jim Fidler
Born in 1670 in Nobber, County Meath, Ireland, Turlough O’Carolan was a blind early Irish harper, composer and singer whose great fame is due to his gift for melodic composition.
After being blinded by smallpox, at the age of eighteen he was apprenticed to a good harper.
At the age of twenty-one, being given a horse and a guide, he set out to travel Ireland and compose songs for various patrons.
He is considered by many to be Ireland’s national composer.
He composed both songs and instrumental harp music, reflecting various styles of composition.
Some of his compositions show influence from the style of the continental classical music of the time, whereas others such as Carolan’s Farewell to Music reflect a much older style of “Gaelic Harping”.
Many of his songs are designated as “planxties”, a word that he apparently invented or popularized to signify a tribute to a merry host.
In return for writing songs in honor of wealthy patrons, he was often welcomed as an honored guest to stay on their estates.
It is said that weddings and funerals were sometimes delayed until he could arrive to perform.
For almost fifty years, he journeyed from one end of Ireland to the other, composing and performing his tunes.
He died on March 25, 1738.
More than two hundred of his compositions have survived to this day.
This piece was composed in the spirit of a tribute, “An Ode to Turlough”.
May his music live on!