Comments on Volume II
by Jerry O'Sullivan

The pieces featured on Volume II of O'Sullivan Meets O'Farrell were all taken from the O’Farrell collections. Unlike volume I though, all these pieces are very baroque in nature. In fact, nearly all these pieces do not sound well as solo Uilleann Pipes pieces; they need a harpsichord and cello to make them come alive. I think that this is because baroque pieces are composed around a chord structure. Dance music from Ireland, Scotland, and England of course has a chord structure as well but the melody is the primary thing rather than a particular progression of chords.

I found that the Uilleann Pipes chanter sounds superb with the harpsichord and cello and I was fortunate to have Paul and Audrey Cienniwa, two consummate masters of these respective instruments, play on this recording. Boston Uilleann piper Kevin O’Brien did an amazing job of writing harpsichord and cello parts for them. The original O’Farrell collections only had the lead melodies and Kevin captured perfectly the continuo parts that these pieces suggested. 

Harpsichordist Paul Cienniwa accompanies Jerry as they performed a number of Suites  from Volume II at The Weldon House in East Durham, NY. A large crowd attended the event marking the formal debut of the new CD during the 2010 Annual Catskills Irish Arts Week . 

I am hoping that this new recording will show how well the pipes fit with an 18th century continuo (harpsichord and cello) and also how naturally the pipes play this very different repertoire. I am excited that this recording uses actual harpsichord and baroque cello rather than a synthesizer and a modern cello. These two 18th century acoustic instruments formed the “rhythm section” for 18th century music, both classical and folk. In my opinion, the Uilleann Pipes are a child of the 18th century and this explains the affinity that the Uilleann Pipes have for the harpsichord and baroque cello. Also, the Uilleann Pipes chanter has some sonic characteristics of the early 18th century oboe and my approach with this recording was to use the chanter in an “oboe-like” fashion. I hope you enjoy the music. Jerry

The O'Sullivan Meets O'Farrell Volume II team following Jerry and Paul's Concert at The Weldon House.  From left, Benedict Koehler, (chanter and reed) Paul Cienniwa, (harpsichord) Jerry and Kevin O'Brien (harpsichord and cello arrangements.)