Rise up, my love, the fresh and vital debut record from the Irish Youth Chamber Choir under their conductor Greg Beardsell, features music by contemporary choral masters Howard Skempton, Gabriel Jackson, Pēteris Vasks and Eric Whitacre.
A celebration of the sensual, the vital and the earthly, Rise up, my love is a passionate debut from the Irish Youth Chamber Choir, under their conductor Greg Beardsell.
The title comes from English composer Howard Skempton and his four-movement setting of fragments from the Song of Songs, a biblical text unique in its joyous narrations of human intimacy. Rise up, my love is typical of Skempton’s paired-down, exquisitely balanced compositional style. The words are everything, and nothing is over-stated. Beardsell and his singers match this approach in a flowing, natural interpretation that allows Skempton’s rich harmonies to really breathe and bloom.
The record opens with a wedding song — I gaze upon you by Gabriel Jackson. “I gaze upon you and the sun grows large / Soon it will overwhelm our day,” sing the choir, at once tender and yearning. Paul Éluard’s verse is given a vivid musical treatment.
A pair of lovers are also the central characters in the closing track, A boy and a girl, a setting of Octavio Paz by choral superstar Eric Whitacre. His simple, declamatory setting allows the ultimate pathos of the words to really resonate.
Māte saule by the Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks is a perfect foil to these love songs. By turns placid, graceful and volatile, the music sings of the eternal, of nature, of our earth; the title of the poem by Jānis Peters translates as “Mother Sun”. This performance thoroughly relishes the warp and weave of Vasks’ undulating score.
“As a marker of the still infant ensemble’s abilities, this first recording […] serves as a musical calling card of consummate elegance. Howard Skempton’s titular Rise up, my love forms the centrepiece, the mixed-voice choir sensitively attuned to both its luminous beauty and the darker, bass-heavy accent of the second of its four anthems. […] Gabriel Jackson’s I gaze upon you shows off the choir’s richly textured composite voice and alert reciprocity […] Eric Whitacre’s delicate A Boy and a Girl is delivered with bewitching tenderness.” – Michael Quinn, Classical Ear
In 2011, the Irish Youth Choir realised a long held ambition: to create a smaller chamber choir of singers from within the ranks of the larger main choir, the Irish Youth Chamber Choir. Over the IYC annual summer course singers have the opportunity to audition for the Irish Youth Chamber Choir. Those selected from these auditions continue to perform some of the most incredible choral music from around the world to a standard of excellence throughout the year. Their nationwide tours in 2012 and 2013 saw performances of a wide range of repertoire from Massive Attack to James MacMillan.
They have performed with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, Elbow at Electric Picnic, and at the BBC Proms with the National Youth Choir and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Singing is their passion and they are all about inventive programming, heartfelt performances, and sharing the joy of choral music with as many people as possible.
Greg Beardsell is a leading light in music education and performance. He is Musical Director of the Irish Youth Choir, Deputy Artistic Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Artistic Director of the Ulster Youth Choir. He has recently been appointed Choral Director for the Gabrieli Consort and Players education initiative, the Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme. He works extensively as a conductor, singer, adjudicator, workshop leader and presenter.
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."...a thing of rare, rich beauty..." – Michael Quinn, Classical Ear"...filled with a haunting beauty..." – Whole Note Magazine (Canada)"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
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
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