Mad Martins

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Kev Rowland, FRaME Music, UK, March 11, 2018
[Review of Fair Flowers Among Them All (The 'Mad Martins' Instrumentals)]

World of John Martin
[Review of initial pilot performance at Queen's Hall, Hexham on October 8th 2002, as part of the Northumberland Traditional Music Festival]



Dear Gary,

Today I got the Mad Martins and I cannot tell you how happy I am. This is such a magnificent project and I am unable to thank you enough. The book is stunning, the music outstanding and the whole concept I find amazing. I first came across the Martin brothers completely by chance. My daughter was in Durham University. I live in London but we are Irish. Once I drove up to Durham to pick her up and bring her with me to Scotland to get the ferry. 
We drove to Stranraer along Hadrians Wall essentially, and as we drove through Hexham, I began to wonder aloud at its etymology. I wondered if it had any relationship with hex, and therefore witchcraft. Trea, my daughter, googled it and found in the Wikipedia page a list of people from Hexham. One name stood out, Jonathan Martin ( arsonist). We looked up one after another of these brothers. We were instantly fascinated. Although I was wrong about the magic etymology, there was some kind of magic involved because my daughter and I are still under the spell of these extraordinary brothers, as you so clearly are as well. Since then I have tried to get my hands on anything that deals with them. Without any doubt this is the finest thing I have seen about them. Congratulations to you and everyone involved with the project. You have done your subjects full justice and a real service. When you look around you and see the runaway success of the most egregious rubbish and the signal failure of such high quality work as this to make any significant impact, I fear we are still in a world which the brothers would have recognised. A world where genius is not recognised.  
You have produced a work of genius. Thank you. 

(Paul McAuley, Martin Brothers afficionado).