Next, Bill Whelan’s recent album of orchestral music. Short version: it wasn’t quite for me, but I thought it did what it did very well, and it was catchy as hell.
There is in Whelan’s work an admirable self-assurance; a tightness in orchestration and harmonic structure, and an unapologetic sweetness in melody. It may be too much for some, too tidy, too sentimental, too carefully designed. These are two sides of the same coin. It’s Whelan’s control of musical design, and his direct emotionality, that have allowed him to create the most popular Irish piece of orchestral music of the past fifty years.