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
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
"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.
This release marks the solo debut of Irish composer Simon O’Connor on the Ergodos label. An immaculately crafted, beautiful and poignant collection of nine piano pieces, this new album is the result of over three years work from conception to release.
“I wanted to create something that could make a profound emotional connection with people, music that could really draw listeners inward to themselves and awaken a sense of joy in the beauty of the world around them,” says O’Connor of the 57-minute long collection, which takes it’s title from a lecture given by the late historian and social commentator Tony Judt.
“More than ever, I felt the need to create music that could reconnect every listener to an innocent sense of wonder; music that takes its joy in simple melody and delicate harmony; music that is – at it’s core – an embodiment of optimism.”
Childlike melodies are pitched against ever-changing harmonic landscapes, in a desperate plea for beauty in a world gone austere. This is a wordless political polemic that cries out for more space, beauty, slowness and understanding in a time of pessimism and intellectual voids.
Performed by Ireland’s foremost young pianist Michael McHale, What is living and what is dead is the work of the Irish production duo of Garrett Sholdice and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly. Recorded in Berlin and then completed in Munich by renowned mastering engineer Christoph Stickel (ECM, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical) this unique release will be available worldwide from 3 January 2016.
“Simon O’Connor’s album What is living and what is dead for solo piano (performed by Michael McHale) is 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 … There’s something of Ravel in O’Connor’s exquisitely pastel palette, an echo of Peter Maxwell Davies in its liquescent ebb and flow, but the translucent limpidity of the textures, the thoughtful intensity of expression, the underlying tenderness that binds the whole hypnotically together are wholly O’Connor’s. Belfast pianist Michael McHale plays with the utmost care for tonal detail and under-stated textural sophistication.” – Michael Quinn, Classical Ear
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.
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”.
Released on limited edition, transparent orange vinyl, with stunning artwork by Craig Carry, woodwind instrumentalist and composer Seán Mac Erlaine’s second solo album is a place where haunting melodies are living, growing things, developing in sympathy with nuanced loops and fluttering particles of sound.“Mac Erlaine is an explorer at the frontiers of sound.” ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ — The Irish Times
Franz Schubert's ever-popular Four Impromptus, Opus 90 presented in a totally new context, performed with rare sensitivity by Belfast-born pianist Michael McHale."...a nuanced masterpiece..." – The Sunday Business Post"Spirited, well-shaped Schubert" – BBC Music Magazine
Long After the Music is Gone is the new solo album from Dublin-based woodwind instrumentalist and composer Seán Mac Erlaine. It's an album of extraordinary ambience, rich with Mac Erlaine's distinctive supple reed work and subtle electronics. With each track Mac Erlaine seems to channel the atmosphere of a space or vista, immersing us.An extraordinary solo recording... consistently one of the most interesting and adventurous musicians of his generation. ★★★★ — The Irish Times.Curiously lovely tunes... I want to hear everything that Seán Mac Erlaine’s ever done. Compliments don’t get much bigger. — Hot Press