Gift Certificate

In The Moment CD

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas
In The Moment CD $15.00 In the Moment MP3 - Album download $9.99 In the Moment Transcriptions - all tracks $120.00
Share on Facebook

Bringing a Fresh Sound to an Old Tradition: New Music for Fiddle & Cello

Alasdair Fraser (fiddle)
Natalie Haas (cello)

Track Listing and Notes

This CD follows on from their award winning album "Fire & Grace", winner of "Scots Trad Album of the Year" for 2004. The music on this album is highly original, with most of the pieces written by Alasdair Fraser and also including a wonderful new composition by Natalie Haas.

“Four Stars! Scots fiddle master Alasdair Fraser and young American cellist Natalie Haas have already created a considerable stir in their concert performances . . . A highly engaging session.” The Scotsman

"....So the idea of pairing a master fiddler such as Alasdair Fraser with the sublime cello playing of Natalie Haas might seem like a stroke of brilliance, something bold and new. But according to Fraser, it's a pairing that has deep roots in Celtic tradition. 'People may be familiar with the gorgeous, melodic cello sound,' Fraser says, 'but they're surprised to learn that the cello used to comprise the rhythm section in Scottish dance bands.'

Fraser is unquestionably one of the finest fiddle players in the world, both in performance and his tireless promotion of Scottish music. His repertoire spans centuries of Scottish music with a willingness to push those forms in new directions.

Haas, now in her early 20s, first came to Fraser's attention at age 11 while attending one of his Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School camps. Encouraged by Fraser, she began to investigate the cello's potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes.

In 2004, the musicians joined forces for Fire & Grace, an award-winning album that showcases a wide range of styles, from sizzling reels and airs to the lush melancholic pieces that are also a hallmark of Celtic music. The album is well balanced, with Fraser and Haas sharing the spotlight and complementing each other with effortless grace. Fraser's fiery fiddle is matched and mellowed perfectly by Haas's rich, sonorous cello."

- John Ginn, Eugene Weekly

Valley of the Moon Reel - Alasdair wrote this tune for his hugely successful annual summer camp, the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School. Alasdair and Natalie met there when Natalie was just 11 years old.
Between - Natalie wrote this tune on the plane flying from Madrid back to her home in New York. Musicians tend to spend a lot of their time in a suspended state between places, reflecting on all the wonderful experiences they’ve just had while simultaneously trying to prepare themselves for the ones they’re about to have. Thanks to Joyce Beaton for the name!
Alien Ceilidh: Alasdair Fraser's Compliments to Lorna Mitchell, Backseat Soccer - The first of these two tunes was used in the last scene of the Disney film “Treasure Planet”, where Alasdair is depicted playing it in the shape of a many-armed female alien. Alasdair’s son Galen, a wonderful soccer player, fiddler, and tunesmith, wrote the second tune..
Salamanca - This tune was made on a hot afternoon in this Spanish town to the sounds of children playing in the street.
Cuillin Nights - Another tune honouring Alasdair’s relationship with the Isle of Skye. In the penthouse of the tower at Sabhal Mor Ostaig (the Gaelic college where Alasdair has hosted a fiddle camp for the last 21 years), while in the midst of writing the opening strathspey, Alasdair and Natalie were invaded by a pack of crazy women dressed in burkas complete with a musical stuffed camel…that was a moment not to be forgotten!
John MacDonald's - Alasdair first heard this tune on a beautiful recording by the band Ossian and fell in love with it. It was brought to the band by piper Iain MacDonald from Glenuig, who has yet to remember where he forst heard it...
Miss Laura Risk - written for long-time friend and collaborator Laura Risk, a beautiful person and fiddle player.
Giga de Tenerife - This tune was written (for lack of paper) on a plane from Tenerife to Madrid on the inside of a certain bag that can always be found in the seat pocket in front of you!
Natalie Mariah - Alasdair wrote this tune for Natalie, whose middle name is no longer a secret. Each part illustrates a different side of her personality.
Trip to Pakistan - We’ve been having lots of fun with this one over the years…thanks to Niall for a great tune!
Christina - Alasdair wrote this tune on the back of a Christmas card for the young Christina Tappan many years ago.

Cameron's Caper: Aberdeen Alternative Festival March, Cameron's Caper Duncan Hendry commissioned this first tune for the opening of the Aberdeen Alternative Festival. The second tune was written for Alasdair’s younger son Cameron, a very energetic dancer.

Willie Fernie - A "Hymn for a Teacher"- this piece is dedicated to Alasdair's teacher and mentor in the early years. He was a very inspiring teacher/violinist who played in a most soulful way and had a huge impact on Alasdair's musical life.
Rob Fraser's Welcome to San Francisco - written for Alasdair's father on the occasion of one of his many visits to San Francisco to play bass with the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers.




In the Moment Culburnie Records CUL122

Alasdair Fraser is among the most accomplished Scottish fiddlers alive today. He has made numerous excellent CDs: notably with Paul Machlis and Skyedance. Then he formed a duet with the brilliant, classically trained cellist Natalie Haas and their sublime debut album Fire & Grace won the 2004 Scots Trad Album of the Year award. In the Moment is the long-awaited follow-up to Fire & Grace.

You might think that traditional fiddle and cello is an unlikely pairing. But this elegant combination is not new. As Alasdair explained at Glasgow's Celtic Connections, much eighteenth and nineteenth century traditional music was performed by cello and fiddle in the music halls of northeast Scotland.

In the Moment will please al of Alasdair and Natalie's existing fans and win them fresh admirers. Some will prefer this album to Fire & Grace for it's greater warmth, originality and broader range of influences. Where the first album contained mainly traditional tunes, the second album is mostly Alasdair and Natalie's own compositions. This allows them the freedom to use a wider musical palette and to create a lusher sound. There are jazzy and classical nuances within the traditional Scottish-American flavours, and the music often has a majestic film score quality, despite being layed by only two instruments! The dramatic rhythmic cello accompaniment to the fiddle's soaring melodies is reminiscent of Aaron Copland and Elmer Bernstein. While most of the album is fiddle and cello duet, piano is brought in beautifully for Miss Laura Risk, and piano and pipes join in on the final track.

Standout tracks include Salamanca (an exquisite melody and poignant counterpoint that switches from fiddle to cello and back again) and Natalie Mariah (a throat-catchingly gorgeous tune composed by Alasdair as a musical portrait of Natalie). I both tracks Alasdair and Natalie use the advantage of original composition to deliver that extra element of surprise and unpredictability to keep you enthralled.

The playing throughout this album is characterised by a distilled intensity and breathtaking sensitivity. This music elicits powerful emotions. Some film director really should commission Fraser & Haas to compose the soundtrack to an epic western in the vein of Last of the Mohicans or Heaven's Gate. Are you reading this, Mr Ridley Scott? Mr Ang Lee?, check out the track on this month's covermount CD.

Paul Matheson