Take soft piano and string renditions of melodic tunes. Add a smattering of traditional music like 'Flow Gently Sweet Afton' and 'Over the Sea to Skye.' Mix with the occasional skirl of bagpipes and the fine voice of Aife ni Fhearraigh. Put Phil Coulter at the helm and in short order you have Highland Cathedral an album that can best be described as Celtic New Age - if you need to describe it at all.
Enya, of course, owns this market segment, and will probably own it forever. But once you leave her own ingenious ability to write beautiful music and sing it just as well, the drop off to second best is a bit steep. Phil Coulter is perhaps the best of them, although his style is more or less one step removed from Celtic film music, it's always the kind of listening that invites you to sit bake and take a weight of your shoulders.
Occasionally, he shows some daring, but for the most part he is theme and variations of traditional sounds. And, perhaps, a bit too much them and not enough variation. Even so, I like Highland Cathedral, and probably always shall. Like most of my generation, I am a secret Celt. Entranced by legends, and music and sounds that always seem a bit better than the ones to which I am heir.
And this suits me fine, whether it is that martial bagpipes of 'Highland Cathedral,' the easy familiarity of 'The Flowers of the Forest,' or the beautiful singing on 'If these Stones Could Speak' or 'Our Island Barque.' While this music will never move mountins, it can still move the listener a bit closer to comfort and peace. No small accomplishment.