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New book of Manx piano solos

Thu, 11 Jan 2018

New collection of Manx music for piano released

New arrangements of Manx folk melodies comprise a new book of piano music by Frank Woolley.

Eisht as Nish 2 (Then & Now 2) follows on from the first Eisht as Nish book which came out in 2007 and which has become an essential resource for pianists and keyboard players aspiring to play Manx music.

The new collection comprises 43 melodies, including airs, dances, hymns, sea songs and carvals. It includes Baase Illiam Dhone (Death of Illiam Dhone), Arrane y Chlean (Cradle Song), Ny Kirree fo Niaghtey (The Sheep under the Snow), Mylecharaine, Brig Lily, Berrey Dhone and the well-known revivalist hymn The Good Old Way.

Frank is a well-known figure on the island’s music scene.  He has been an official accompanist for the Manx Music Festival for 24 years and is the regular accompanist for the Cushag Choir and Ramsey Choral. He has taught piano for 35 years.

He began composing music at the age of 12, when he was a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral. Commissions have included ‘A Manx Suite’ for the Manx Youth Orchestra, choir test pieces for the Scottish ‘Mod’, and a ‘Celebration March’ for the 150th anniversary of Ramsey Commissioners. 

He has arranged many traditional tunes for Culture Vannin publications, most recently contributing to ‘Celebration & Contemplation’, Manx Traditional and Original Music for Church Organ. Two of these pieces, ‘Haste to the Wedding’ and ‘Prelude – Manx Fishermen’s Evening Hymn’ were premiered at the Cathedral, Peel by Dr Peter Litman during Yn Chruinnaght, July 2017.

Of his latest collection for piano, he said: ‘I hope to have brought out the individual character of each tune and presented it in a way that suits the instrument and is enjoyable to play’.

Dr Breesha Maddrell, Director of Culture Vannin said:

‘This new book brings together favourites such as ‘Sheep Under the Snow’ and ‘The Goodnight Song’ and places them alongside beautiful airs and melodies rarely heard today.

‘New life is breathed into the tunes, collected in the island during the 19th and 20th centuries, through these exquisite arrangements’.

Eisht as Nish 2 is available priced £12 from the Lexicon Bookshop (Douglas), Bridge Bookshop (Ramsey) and Presence of Mann (Laxey Woollen Mills).