A captivating release by one of England’s finest young musicians, combining three different approaches to counterpoint, an elemental musical technique running through centuries of music.
In every track Jonathan’s playing is excellent […] I found myself listening to [Another Country by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly] time after time. Excellent! – Kenneth Morris, Clarinet and Saxophone Society Magazine.
‘Architecture begins when two bricks are placed carefully together,’ said Mies van der Rohe. This idea runs through the debut album by the brilliant English clarinettist Jonathan Sage. This is a captivating release by one of England’s finest young musicians, combining three different approaches to counterpoint, an elemental musical technique running through centuries of music.
The American composer Steve Reich opens this vibrant new release with his minimal clarinet masterpiece New York Counterpoint. At times grand and spacious, Reich’s writing is propelled by exhuberant and joyful rhythms. Featuring eleven seperate clarinet lines (all performed by Sage), it is a spirited celebration of putting note against note, the basic act of counterpoint.
The Irish composer Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, whose first musical instrument was the violin, has arranged part of one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sublime violin partitas for solo clarinet. The ‘Sarabande’ exposes baroque counterpoint in a stripped-down form, with the violin chords translated into delicate clarinet arpeggios.
Schlepper-Connolly also features with his powerful work Another Country. Commissioned by Sage, this acts as a sister piece to Reich’s and shares its multi-layered instrumentation. As the music gradually unfolds, an elegantly chugging choir of clarinets is absorbed by a frenzied whirl of melody. The momentum builds and the listener is torn along, the music’s vigour matched only by its moments of sudden tenderness.
Jonathan Sage, who is based in York, enjoys a varied career as soloist, orchestral and chamber musician. As a concerto soloist, Sage has played with, amongst others, the London Mozart Players, York Sinfonia and Ergodos Musicians, and once stood in for his teacher — the late Alan Hacker — to play the Mozart Clarinet Concerto at twenty-four hours notice.
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
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
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