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Peter Knight: An Ancient Cause

Peter Knight: An Ancient Cause (Shanachie 5001)

An Ancient Cause
Peter Knight

Shanachie 5001 (CD, UK, 1991)
Koch International CD 322 668 (CD, Germany, 1991)

Peter Knight

Produced by Peter Knight;
Recorded by Don Sternecker at Mixolydian Studios, Boonton, NJ;
Published by Twin Bridges/Wiltshire/Peer Music;
Digital Mastering: Robert Vosgien, CMS Digital, California;
Special thanks to Tim Harries, Richard Nevins, Don Sternecker and Leslie.


Peter Knight: violin, viola, mandolin, banjo;
Tim Harries: bass, keyboards


  1. E English (5.18)
  2. Picnic (4.54)
  3. Lost for Words (2.46)
  4. An Ancient Cause (5.39)
  5. Seven Dancers (4.22)
  6. Brackenberry Road (4.32)
  7. Twin Bridges (3.10)
  8. Mother’s Day (5.31)
  9. Child’s Play (1.34)
  10. Low Tide (5.42)

All titles composed by Peter Knight

Sleeve Notes

Peter Knight’s life has been the story of a supremely talented musician following his muse, even if that meant moving in the most unexpected directions. He was born in England in 1947, learning both violin and mandolin from his father at an early age. A precocious young talent, he attended the Royal Academy of Music From 1960 to 1964, thereby gaining the discipline and technique afforded by classical training. In the mid-Sixties he happened to hear a recording by the great Irish fiddler Michael Coleman and was inspired to play Celtic music. Intense involvement with the Irish music scene in London followed as Peter played with some of the best musicians on that scene which sowed the seeds for a renaissance of music from the British isles. There followed a period of performing in British folk clubs with guitarist/singer Bob Johnson until 1970 when he joined the seminal folk/rock group Steeleye Span. Throughout the 70s Steeleye made a series of highly influential, innovative recordings which often re-cast authentic traditional Celtic and English music in dynamic new settings. Peter Knight’s inventive yet technically flawless violin work became a distinctive hallmark of the group’s music.

Peter continued to explore new horizons in music. In 1980 he met saxophonist Trevor Watts and became wholeheartedly involved in free improvised music. He quickly realised that this mode of music-making is the most comfortable and inspirational mode of playing for him. He played with Trevor Watts not only in his fourteen piece band Moire Music and The Drum Orchestra but also in many duet and trio settings. Meanwhile, he continued his work with Steeleye, including such orthodox contributions as an interpretation of Telemann which he recorded by overdubbing all violin parts himself.

An Ancient Cause, Peter Knight’s first solo recording, is a wide-ranging creation which brings together his many influences and experiences to date. Classical aesthetics nestles comfortably with Celtic tradition and experimental techniques to create evocative sound-sculptures which often have a programmatic effect reminiscent of Copeland and other modern composers. Considering the subtlety and range of moods explored on the recording it is especially impressive that much of the music was improved in the studio. For all Peter Knight’s impressive technique the over-riding impact of this music is profoundly emotional. As such it is a work quite unlike any other and surely marks the beginning or an exciting new area of creativity for Peter Knight.