POD Critic had an article yesterday about soundtracks that go with stories. I have a few favorites myself, though my preference overall is for silence while I work. When I can’t get it, though, here are some tracks I like.
First, early harp music – the earlier the better. Two Worlds of the Welsh Harp is a good place to start if you can find a copy – it mixes 18th century Welsh harp pieces with earlier compositions from the ap Huw manuscript. I prefer the ap Huw pieces myself – they have an intricacy that reminds me of some of the earlier poetry, and are like no other European harp music I know.
For a different kind of early harp music, I suggest Queen of Harps, by Ann Heymann. This is early Irish music – pre-O’Carolan – played on the wire-strung Irish harp in the early manner, using the nails rather than the pads of the fingers.
For a younger style, but still a wonderful Celtic sound, try any of Patrick Ball’s recordings. (He is also a fine storyteller – if his travels take him near you, go and see him!)
Not to leave out Scotland, I recommend anything by Alison Kinnaird. One or two of her albums have pieces by Ann Heymann as well.
A more modern type of Welsh music, but inspired by the ancient tales, is Ceredwen. They only have 2 CDs so far as I know; I recommend O’r Mabinogi. (Language warning: the lyrics are all in Welsh, although the liner notes are bilingual.)
That’s enough for today – time to put the headphones on and get back to work!