More Tunes from the Lighthouse
Paul Cranford with Mario Colosimo,

Review by Andrew Kuntz- orignally published in Fiddler Magazine

Paul Cranford was for more than 30 years a lighthouse keeper in Canada, a profession whose periods of isolation followed by chunks of time off was ideal for a developing musician, composer, and publisher. The fruits of his labors have long been evident in the high-quality publications documenting the best in Cape Breton fiddling, and in his own excellent Cape Breton-style compositions, many of which have deservedly gained currency not only among Cape Breton fiddlers, but overseas as well.

This two CD-set contains 113 of his compositions and follows up on the initial CD offering of another 57 of his tunes, released at the time of his 1996 publication, The Lighthouse Collection (itself revised and re-issued in 2010). Together, the CDs offer a rare opportunity to hear a gifted contemporary composer play his own repertoire. In fact, with the release of More Tunes from the Lighthouse, over half of the compositions in the book are documented on sound recording of the composer's own playing (although Paul's current composition "count" is some 500 pieces).

It is interesting to compare the "old" and "new" print editions as well as the sound recordings, both separated by 14 years, as one can hear the increased maturity and sophistication in Paul's own playing and his interpretations of his own work. It is a rare and valuable in-depth documentation of one composer's creative process. The best of Paul's compositions have been, and will continue to be, interpreted by those artists at the top of their craft, but here is a chance to hear the composer present his own body of repertory. I also appreciate that Paul has put the standard notation and chords for the pieces on the CD on the web at &endash; you can't get any more helpful than that!


- - - -- Andrew Kuntz

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