The Two Celtic Pieces were originally composed for flute and piano. They were written for a friend who needed some material to help to learn the flute. However, after some thought Blezard decided that the Highland Lament would sound better on the oboe. The Irish Whirligig followed suit. I once wrote that the finest piece of Scottish music was written by Sir Malcolm Arnold – a man born in Northampton- when he penned the third of the Four Scottish Dances. Arnold seemed to have achieved what a generation of Scots composers had failed to do. He perfectly evoked the highland landscape in music. However William Blezard’s evocation of things Scottish in his achingly beautiful Highland Lament comes pretty close. It has been well likened to a piece that could have been written by Delius.
The nod to Ireland is equally impressive. The title Whirligig perhaps is misleading. Although there is much movement here there are also some quite reflective moments. In fact the orchestra gets quite aggressive in places becoming almost discordant before the oboe resumes with its slightly wistful theme. The work ends with a little flourish preceded by a short muse on earlier material.
The Two Celtic Pieces can be heard on ASV WHITELINE CD WHL 2130