An immaculately crafted, beautiful and poignant collection of nine piano pieces, Simon O'Connor's debut solo album is the result of over three years work from conception to release."... an hour-long meditative, introspective work that … lounges in being hard to place … [E]xtended duration and emotional directness are key to the work’s effect.” – Liam Cagney, The Journal of Music""...music that moves with a glacial pace interrupted by turbulent surges but always exuding a gentle, glowing warmth ... Belfast pianist Michael McHale plays with the utmost care for tonal detail and under-stated textural sophistication." – Michael Quinn, Classical Ear
Revelatory, celebratory music by Garrett Sholdice, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Linda Buckley inspired by Christmas music by a mediæval master, and performed by Ergodos Musicians: vocalist Michelle O'Rourke, clarinettist Jonathan Sage and cellist Kate Ellis, with Sholdice and Schlepper-Connolly on piano and guitar respectively.… [An] eloquent meditation … The mood is spiritual, perhaps, but hardly sectarian, with a warm bath production style taking full advantage of studio effects – I Care If You Listen Magazine
"Immediately obvious in Kevin Volans’s hypnotic new chamber compendium is the conflicting tug and tumult of deep, dislocating emotional currents.... Performances by long-time Volans collaborators Waldo Alexander (violin/viola) and Jill Richards (piano) are beautifully modulated and full of glistening details. Excellent recorded sound." – Michael Quinn, classicalear.co.uk"...a composer who is too flexible to be locked into expectations..." – The Wire, December 2015
Star features three meditative string duos by Irish composers Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, Garrett Sholdice and Simon O'Connor. These three works, each composed specifically for the incomparable Baroque violin/double bass duo of Maya Homburger and Barry Guy, are a reminder of the value of concentration, quietude, and slowness. Star is now available on limited edition vinyl.
I Call to You is a record of music inspired by music by Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach, and performed by the Dublin-based group Ergodos Musicians. A project conceived in the darker moments of Ireland’s financial crisis, this is music that underlines a sense of hope, and renewal. ...perhaps the most important record of new Irish music released this year. ★★★★★ — RTÉ Ten...characteristically intelligent, inquisitive and full of altogether beguiling sounds. With Baroque sensibilities left intact, the overall tone here is contemplative and quietly celebratory ... one of the year’s most beautiful and moving discs ★★★★★ — Classical Ear
Franz Schubert’s Impromptus, Opus 90, were composed in 1827, the year before the composer’s death at the age of 31. This record juxtaposes these limpid, yet emotionally complex piano pieces with companion interludes by three Irish composers.
Simon O’Connor’s Self portrait lovingly traces back over the shapes of the first impromptu, whilst at the same time interpolating strokes that are more typical of his own style.
Was du mir warst (“what you were to me”) by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly takes its title from a letter that Schubert wrote in his final days. Rhapsodic and intimate, the music is constantly reflecting back on itself, yet always tumbling forward.
With dark colours, saturation and a sense of getting lost, Garrett Sholdice’s The dreams flow down, too refers to Schubert’s song Nacht und Träume (“night and dreams”), both in its title and in the quoted music of its ending.
Michael McHale’s sensitive performances allow our perceptions of what is familiar and what is strange to shift. We become immersed in a new world: expansive, dark and organismal.
“…a nuanced masterpiece…” – The Sunday Business Post
“Spirited, well-shaped Schubert […] The interweaving works by three young contemporary Irish composers offer contrasting moods…” – BBC Music Magazine
Belfast-born Michael McHale is one of Ireland’s leading pianists. Since completing his studies at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, he has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. He has performed at many important musical centres including Suntory Hall, Tokyo; Lincoln Center, New York; Symphony Hall, Boston; Konzerthaus, Berlin; Pesti Vigadó, Budapest, and the Ushuaia, Chopiniana and Tanglewood Festivals. Michael’s debut solo album The Irish Piano was selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by critic Norman Lebrecht, who described it as “a scintillating recital … fascinating from start to stop”, whilst Gramophone praised “the singing sensibility of McHale’s sensitive and polished pianism”.
Simon O’Connor is a Dublin-based composer whose musical life began in punk bands as a young teen. Musically self-taught, he worked primarily in theatre composition before forming seminal Dublin psych-rock band The Jimmy Cake. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied with composers Donnacha Dennehy and Kevin Volans, O’Connor has for many years worked primarily in a tonal, minimal palette, writing for chamber ensembles and solo musicians. His new song cycle, Left Behind – commissioned by vocalist Michelle O’Rourke, will form the centrepiece of the Irish Republic’s International Women’s Day Celebrations in 2016.
Benedict Schlepper-Connolly is a composer based in Dublin, Ireland. People he has worked with in recent years include the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the sean nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, Crash Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Modelo 62, Ensemble Avalon, Slagwerk den Haag, Resurgam, Robinson Panoramic Quartet, Ensemble Klang and the choreographer and dancer Liv O’Donoghue. Benedict is also a director of Ergodos, the Dublin-based music company that he founded with fellow composer Garrett Sholdice in 2006; Ergodos produces concerts and recordings, and runs its own ensemble, Ergodos Musicians. Current projects include The Weathered Stone, a large-scale work for Robinson Panoramic Quartet, pianist Saskia Lankhoorn and bass clarinettist Seán Mac Erlaine.
Garrett Sholdice is an Irish composer currently based in Dublin. His music has been described as possessing an “exquisite delicacy” (The Irish Times). Notable recent performances include the premiere of a piano concerto for Michael McHale and the Irish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gábor Tákacs-Nagy, and the premiere, in London, of a new madrigal for vocal ensemble EXAUDI. Sholdice is a director of Ergodos (ergodos.ie), a Dublin-based production company, record label and music distributor, co-founded with Benedict Schlepper-Connolly in 2006. Upcoming performances include the premiere of a new work at Crash Ensemble’s Free State 9 event.
Not is a gently undulating ambient electronic work by English composer Clive Wilkinson. Haunted by the ghost of the "sad bird" in Maurice Ravel's piano masterpiece Miroirs, Not is both an elegy and an atmosphere.
Dubh is the debut album from Trio Scordatura and the first release on the Ergodos Records imprint. Dubh is about a certain generation of Irish composers, a generation that is finding its place between tradition and the modern world. A consistent atmosphere of slow-burning introspection prevails."... a startling disc ... the nub of everything here is Trio Scordatura: an idiosyncratic voice, Harry Partch inspired-viola and MIDI keyboards. Whatever the approach or challenge set, this ensemble investigates with such thoroughness and panache so that each work sets one on a sonic adventure." – Bernard Clarke, cmc.ie