Inspired by the secret histories of landscapes, old maps and memory, this music by Dublin composer Benedict Schlepper-Connolly possesses the ecstatic, unforced beauty of the natural world – at once minimal and teeming with matter.
“This is a very strong modern classical work, inspired by old maps, memory and importantly – landscapes. It feels like a fresh, outdoor record – perfect for Autumn and the colder months ahead. Highly recommended.” — Irregular Crates
The product of three years of work, The weathered stone marks Benedict Schlepper-Connolly out as a voice of compelling individuality. Inspired by the secret histories of landscapes, old maps and memory, this is music that possesses the ecstatic, unforced beauty of the natural world. Across only four tracks, the Dublin composer lays out a many-hued musical statement that is at once minimal and teeming with matter.
The monumental opening track (The weathered stone) and the explosive string quartet that follows (A view from above) both deal in large, distinct, swathes of music in which a pattern warps elegantly over time. Schlepper-Connolly was inspired here by the corrosion and erosion of building materials and landscapes. He writes: “Landscapes erode, reshape and accumulate; my use of musical material here behaves in a similar way, with musical states exposed to time and altered, often subtly, sometimes more violently.”
The song, Beekeepers, which Schlepper-Connolly sings himself, forms the record’s intimate core. A song of memory, reflection and renewal, Beekeepers reveals new, expansive possibilities latent within Schlepper-Connolly’s musical language. These are further explored in the harmonically lush closing track, Field, which is again inspired by the action of time on the land. “In Field,” the composer writes, “musical material is much like earthly material: it retains many of its features over time, but its surface is continually transformed.”
Produced by the composer along with Garrett Sholdice, and mastered in Munich by the legendary Christoph Stickel (ECM, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical), The weathered stone features performances of extraordinary grace and virtuosity, with the Robinson Panoramic Quartet (IRL), and pianist Saskia Lankhoorn (NL), and reedman Seán Mac Erlaine (IRL), joining Schlepper-Connolly to bring his vivid music to life.
Benedict Schlepper-Connolly’s elegant and eloquent responses [to the landscape] are as varied as the terrain […] Material is gathered and dispersed, reassembled and scattered again in surprising but always satisfyingly organic ways […] a thing of rare, rich beauty. – Michael Quinn, Classical Ear
…filled with a haunting beauty […] a mostly meditative suite [with] gentle, pointillist minimalism […] something like the music of Morton Feldman or perhaps Linda Catlin Smith, but in double time […] there is a repetitive trance-like effect that gives the impression of very slow development while the notes are actually moving quite quickly […] A wonderful experience for anyone in a quiet mood. – Whole Note Magazine (Canada)
[“The weathered stone’s”] sifting over ‘the secret histories of landscapes, old maps and memory,’ as the press release puts it, is twinned by Schlepper-Connolly’s musical processes, which are characterised by the delicate sifting and reworking of intervallic and melodic cells. – Liam Cagney, The Journal of Music
Benedict Schlepper-Connolly is a composer and producer from Dublin. As a composer, he moves between various musical forms, including chamber music, choral writing, orchestral work, arrangement, songwriting, field recording and music for dance and film. Benedict’s compositions frequently seek out an ecstatic quality, with a reduced palette of materials, rich tonal harmonies and rhythmic intricacy.
Born in Ireland to an Irish father and German mother, Benedict studied composition with Donnacha Dennehy, Yannis Kyriakides and Peter Adriaansz at both Trinity College, Dublin, and at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. Along with Garrett Sholdice, Benedict runs Ergodos, a record label and production company founded in 2006.
Working closely with the members of Ergodos Musicians, composers Garrett Sholdice and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly arrange, re-compose, weave and stitch material drawn from the songs they love, spanning over 800 years of music, from John Dowland and Vivaldi to Steve Earle, Richard Thompson and The xx.'Nothing could better exemplify the continued vitality of the song tradition' ★★★★ 'CD Choice' – The Irish Times
"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
A treasury of chamber music highlighting Netherlands-based composer Peter Adriaansz’ fastidious artistic mind, featuring Saskia Lankhoorn (piano), Ensemble Klang and Trio Scordatura."Blissful to experience." – De Volkskrant
"Each of these mesmerising pieces combines precise construction with an otherworldly sonic halo, its crystalline clarity of design tinged with complicating radiance." – The Wire
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