The Celts of County Clare

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The Celts of County Clare, op. 225
Dennis and Christy Naughton                                    Flowery Branch, Georgia
grade 3.5 - 5:15



This charming composition is inspired by the music of Ireland, specifically the type of folk music heard in the County Clare region, located on the central southwest coast. While much of the music heard in the pubs is typically rhythmic dance music, the area is known for some lovely ballads as well.

When Dennis Naughton commissioned the piece, he asked for it to have an Irish "flavor" as a nod to his family heritage. In researching and visiting the country, I  learned that the "Naughton" surname was most often used in County Clare, and therefore I chose to focus on the music of this particular county as the inspiration for the original melodies used in the piece.

Opening with a haunting theme presented over shifting drones, the piece begins with a nod to the bagpipes used in Clare along with the sounds of drums which represents a typical tattoo, which was played by the local Corps of Drums to signal that the taps at the pubs were to be closed to encourage the soldiers to return to their posts. A lyrical melody then tugs at our heartstrings in the style of an Irish love song. The rhythmic percussion, reminiscent of the sound of an Irish bodhrán, starts the dancing, and takes us on a whirlwind jig that carries us to a glorious conclusion.

The premiere performance took place with the Reinhardt University Wind Ensemble in Waleska, GA with Dennis Naughton conducting.  The performance can be viewed here:

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