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C o m p o s i t i o n s  &  A r r a n g e m e n t s


Sanctus Cunctipotens Genitor Deus in the style of the Codex Faenza (copyright 2018) - PDF Version
Agnus Dei Cunctipotens Genitor Deus in the style of the Codex Faenza (copyright 2018) - PDF Version

Arrangement and variations on Lord Inchiquin by Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) for soprano and bass recorder (copyright 2014) 

Lord Inchiquin - PDF Version

Arrangement Notes  (published in the January 2015 edition of Blokfluitist)

"My arrangement of Turlough O’Carolan’s tune Lord Inchiquin draws upon oral traditions in Irish music as well as baroque music from the continent.  The two seemingly alien musical cultures both feature great amounts of improvisation and extemporization:  for example, a popular tune in the 17th and 18th centuries would have been performed by heart and subjected to different degrees of variation, depending on the player.  The art of embellishment was cultivated in both Ireland and continental Europe, derived from centuries-old traditions of extemporaneous performance and composition; thus, it would have been natural for skilled musicians to “improve” a melody through a repertoire of trills and grace notes, as well as by inventing variations of often impressive virtuosity.

"Turlough O’Carolan himself would not have read from a part or score, nor did the blind harper transcribe his own compositions.  As an itinerant musician, it is likely that each new tune was taken down at different stops along the road; other musicians who encountered Carolan during his travels may very well have learned tunes by rote and translated them into their own idiomatic styles of performing.  Carolan made his living in part through the support of wealthy patrons.  It is for these that he popularized or perhaps even invented a type of song known as the “planxty.”  Planxties were songs offered as a tribute to hosts and supporters and bore the name of each, including Lord Inchiquin.  For his service, Carolan received bed and board, as well as an excellent reputation that spread throughout Ireland. 

"It should be noted that the variations I have composed in the spirit of Carolan’s day are idiomatic to the recorder; you can see evidence of this in my choice of chordal (or modal) embellishments as well as consideration of the instrument’s range.  Recorder players or other instrumentalists should feel free to substitute pitches according to their level of playing ability and the type of instrument they decide to perform on.  Additionally, I have chosen to order my variations on Lord Inchiquin in increasing speed and intensity.  Any performance of this lively and engaging tune would welcome alterations to suit new performers’ tastes:  variations can be rearranged, omitted, or substituted with your own."

- Laura Osterlund


Sanctus for five voices SATTB (copyright 2014)
Sanctus - PDF Version
Benedictus - PDF Version
Hosanna - PDF Version

Arrangement of Sermone Blando; Angelus by John Baldwine (d. 1615) for SSTB recorders (copyright 2014)
Sermone Blando; Angelus - PDF Version

R e c o r d i n g s


Ensemble Musica Humana:  "Turlough O'Carolan:  A Life in Song" (October 2013)
For more information, visit:

This groundbreaking album celebrates the legacy of 18th century Irish harper and composer, Turlough O'Carolan, bringing to life a collection of his lesser known music and poetry on period instruments.


Lidia Chang - Gerock Flute, London (c.1820)
Nancy Hurrell - Egan "Portable Irish Harp," Dublin (c.1820); Sligo Harp by Rick Kemper
Laura Osterlund - Recorder and Whistle
Joseph Finnegan Beckwith - Voice
Rosanne Santucci - Uilleann Pipes
Tony Keegan - Percussion

Album Notes
"Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), the celebrated harper-composer, lived at a time of cross-cultural influences shaping the music of Ireland. In the early 18th century new classical styles from Britain and the continent became the fashion alongside Irish traditional music, and the same rich variety is echoed in Carolan’s compositions. As a professional travelling harper, Carolan composed musical ‘gifts’ for his aristocratic patrons, the tune named for the host and created in the patron’s preferred musical style. The broad array of stylistic genres presented in this recording range from ancient modal harp airs with gapped scales (Bridget Cruise, First Air) to the elegant dance forms of Europe’s High Baroque (Mrs. Judge). For lively tunes, Carolan framed his planxties in the popular forms of jigs and hornpipes (Planxty George Brabazons) as well as writing witty, sparkling drinking songs in a strophic style (Dr. John Stafford). Italian music was very much in vogue in 1700s Dublin, with works of the Baroque masters Corelli and Vivaldi performed in recitals throughout the city. In similar mode, Carolan cleverly infused his Irish music with an Italian touch, as in his Concerto, here arranged and performed in concerto form with alternating solo and tutti sections.

"In Carolan’s lifetime, harp tunes were handed down in an aural tradition, as many of the harp players, including Carolan, were blind. In time Carolan’s tunes began to appear in print, and the selections in the first published collection of Irish music, the Neal Collection of 1724, are predominantly by Carolan. As the 18th century progressed, these popular melodies lived on in the repertoires of the flute, violin and uilleann pipes, new instruments appreciated for their clearly audible tone and also their portability in contrast to the robust Gaelic harp. This recording, Turlough O’Carolan: A Life in Song, is an imagined re-creation of a gathering of musicians in a music room of the early 1800s, as Carolan’s music was ever more known from the published Bunting collections. In the style of the period, several melody instruments combine with Gaelic voice and harp accompaniment. Whereas the earlier wire strung harp, or clàirseach, of Carolan had a limited fixed tuning, by the early 1800s newly invented gut strung harps with sharping mechanisms were preferred as more idiomatic to chromatic classical art music. John Egan’s ‘Portable Irish Harp’ became the centerpiece of music rooms in Dublin and the great houses across Ireland, at hand for music-making along with flutes and pipes in family instrument collections."


- Nancy Hurrell and Laura Osterlund

Ensemble Musica Humana:  "Al Alba De España:  Music in the Time of Don Quixote" (September 2012)

This album explores the rich repertoire of the time of the Moorish expulsion in Spain - around 1492.  The vocal selections are from the 'Cancionero de Palacio' and the instrumental music is by Diego Ortiz and Luys de Narvaez.

Konstantin Bozhinov - Lute

Corrine Byrne - Voice

Lidia Chang - Flute

Sheila Heady - Percussion
Laura Osterlund - Recorder and Vielle

Album Notes
"From our vantage point in the twenty-first century, armed with five hundred years of hindsight, the history of the Iberian Peninsula is, indeed, an uncomfortable one. Often it is the "Westernness" of Spain that is called into question by the rest of Europe who, for many centuries, considered the culture and very genealogy of Spain to have been "contaminated" by Jews and Moors. Contamination is not, we should hope, the word that any enlightened mind would choose to describe the impact of eight centuries of Arab presence on the peninsula. We hope to demonstrate through these recordings the unique beauty of this music conceived, paradoxically, against a backdrop of religious and ethnic turmoil yet simultaneously, within two warring cultures, whose legacies now are inextricably linked. These songs and dances from the late 15th and early 16th centuries reflect the unintended symbiosis that flowered between Spanish and Islamic aesthetics.

"Diego Ortiz (c. 1510-70) was born in Toledo, Spain, and later appointed maestro di capella of the Royal Chapel by Fernando Álvarez, third duke of Alba. His collection of glosas (or musical “glosses”) on monophonic melodies and polyphonic works alike was published in Rome in 1553. The Trattado de glossas sobre clausulas y otros generos de punctos en la musica de violones nuevamente puestos en luz featured a number of virtuosic recercadas on popular ground basses such as La Folia and the passamezzo antico. Although originally intended for the viola da gamba, then a popular instrument among “amateur” musicians, it is likely that other skilled instrumentalists had access to Ortiz’s work. It is just as likely that they were already ornamenting preexisting musical pieces in a style similar to Ortiz. Like Ortiz, vihuelist Luis de Narváez (c. 1526-49) was celebrated for his ability to compose and perform glosses on well-known melodies. Narváez is perhaps best known for his Los seys libros del Delphín de música: six volumes containing music for voice and the vihuela. Within are the earliest preserved variations on popular melodies and ground basses. The origins of many are obscure and may lie in the Middle Ages. Narváez’s setting of Paseavase el rey moro stands out as a testament to centuries of turmoil amid Spain’s divided religions. It is recorded that the singing of Paseavase el rey moro was prohibited, due to its purported tendency to incite Spain’s Muslim converts to righteous anger and acts of violence. Di, perra mora, a villancico by Pedro Guerrero (c. 1520) makes reference to Spain’s Moorish inhabitants, this time employing a bitter and satirical tone, while the infectious melodies and vivid texts by Juan del Encina (c. 1468-1530) highlight prevalent political tensions, voice human pathos, and cast everyday scenes in a brand new light. Mas vale trocar touches upon themes of unfulfilled, chivalrous love; Una sañosa porfía rails against the cruelties faced by the ill-fated and bereft. ¿Qu'es de ti, desconsolado? remembers the fall of the city of Granada in 1492, the subsequent expulsion of Spain’s Jews, and forced conversions of Moors by the thousands.

"In addition to compositions attributed to known Spanish composers, nearly five hundred polyphonic works preserved in the Cancionero de Palacio, speak to myriad moods and aesthetic tendencies that have survived the test of time. The villancico predominates throughout the Cancionero, alongside its counterparts: the romance and canción. Al alba venid offers gentle summons for a lover at dawn, while La tricotea, another villancico, accompanies the story of a rowdy, drunken soldier with a volley of nonsense syllables: orli, cerli, niqi, and so forth."

- Lidia Chang and Laura Osterlund

Y o u T u be  


Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) - Lord Inchiquin (variations by Laura Osterlund)
Live performance at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on July 25th, 2013.  Featuring Sheila Heady, Percussion.

“What bird so sings” set to “Engels Nachtegaeltje” from Der Fluyten Lust-Hof by Jacob van Eyck (1644). Featuring Daniel Fridley, Voice.

Codex Faenza - Benedicamus Domino [Deo Gratias] Featuring Sarah Coffman, Voice, Allison Monroe, Vielle and Voice, Karin Weston, Voice, and QinYing Tan, Positive Organ.

Hans Poser (1917 - 1970) - Wandsbeker Tänze VI. Sehr locker, bewegt & VII. Sehr rasch. Featuring Mirja Lorenz, Patrick O'Malley, and Lisette Kielson, Recorders.

Anonymous (Glogauer Liderbuch) - Mein gmuth das wuth in heisser glut
Featuring Dawn Bailey, Voice, Margaret Folkemer, Positive Organ and Voice, and Peter Walker, Voice.


Diego Ortiz (c. 1510-70) - Recercada segunda
Featuring Konstantin Bozhinov, Lute, and Sheila Heady, Percussion.



Lochamer Liderbuch/Fundamentum organisandi - Mit ganzem willen/Mit ganczem willen wunsch ich dir (arrangement by Laura Osterlund) Live performance at Redpath Hall, McGill University on March 14th, 2011.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) - Ordo Virtutum (excerpts) Featuring members of Ensemble Scholastica. Live performance at Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours on June 23rd, 2012.

Juan del Encina (c. 1468-1530): Una sañosa porfía

Featuring Ensemble Musica Humana.  From the album Al Alba De España (September 2012).


Jeff Ostrowski - Responsorial Psalm "God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor." Live performance with organist George Felty at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on September 1st, 2014

Steven. R. Janco (b. 1961) - Draw Near! Live performance with organist George Felty at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on September 1st, 2014

For more video recordings, visit Laura Osterlund's YouTube Channel.

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