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Fern Knight - Fern Knight

Fern Knight

Fern Knight

VHF Records - VHF 110

Available from VHF Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

This should be a big hit with fans of Blackmore's Night and Renaissance, Margaret Wienk being a singing sister under the surname to Annie Haslam and Candice Night. Baroque, Elizabethan, dirgey, the CD maintains an atmosphere of mist and somber vistas, Wienk's cello contributing in no small part. Her voice is perfect for the plainsong register invading every cut, an avian perspective above chamber quartets tethering her to pastorales of antiquity and reverie. Everything about this release is dreamlike, sleepy, slowly floating. James Wolf's violin passages, as in Hawk Mountain, are sly and unobtrusive, quiety weaving a vital shawl around the deepening night of the composition, Wierks' wordless melismatic end-song croon taking it higher and higher, counterpointing the lyrics. More than a little Celtica creeps in and one, should one be aware of such, could only imagine what a concert with Fern Night opening the bill way back when for the earliest version of Sandy Denny, Dave Cousins, and the Strawbs would have been like. The mouth waters.

Synge's Chair sees the combo kicking up into a spirited closing quarter, somewhat a la String Driven Thing or McKendree Spring's lively quasi-classicalist moments, but the mood and mode remain greyly dark and melancholy. Some of the moments in Fern Night circle around to what The One Ensemble and Spires That in the Night Rise are doing, the result, I strongly suspect, of Mr. Wolf, who is an expert on Sun Ra and from whom such mutations would be expected. Believe it or not, though the three groups are quite widely separated, they share a compositional erudition that's nicely, though disparately, complementary. You'd have to hear all three to understand…and I suggest you do.

Track List:

  • Bemused
  • Silver Fox
  • Sundew
  • Loch Na Fooey
  • Hawk Mountain
  • Synge's Chair
  • Magpie Suite: 1) Prelude, 2) Part II, 3) Part III

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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