Louth Contemporary Music Society have here added to the blooming
renaissance in approachable music of our time. I say ‘our
time’ even though the composers were variously born in
the 1930s and 1940s.
Tavener's Ikon of Joy and Sorrow
is in the meditative
minimalist caste of schnittke's Spiegel im Spiegel
for string quartet. The Callino Quartet give a concentrated version
but their violins do sound - presumably deliberately - rather
skeletal. Pärt's splash-swirling Hymn to a Great City
solo piano is cleanly laid out and brought to a logical and rounded
close. Knaifel's unhurriedly soliloquising O heavenly king
for string quartet, soprano, piano and celesta. The singing recalls
the solo line in Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs
around by celesta and piano and by the slow projection of lines
from the quartet. Silvestrov's Ikon
for string quartet
proceeds quietly in devout contemplative gait while the same
composer's Tchaikovsky Lullaby
for violin and piano has
that same dreamy and faintly melancholy air.
is soused in the atmosphere of medieval mysteries. Goodnight
Gorecki, whose Symphony I mentioned earlier, wrote the three
movement 27 minute piece in memoriam Michael Vyner. It is the
most complex of the works here and across its three Lentos has
a subdued iterative character. Prayer and meditation are the
order of the day. Cage's name like that of Stockhausen often
sends people into meltdown, freefall or a rush to the shelters.
His 1948 In a Landscape
is a remarkably delicate conception.
Its softly chiming piano solo runs to 10:18. The hushed slowness,
toll and eddying carillon of this music is wonderfully restful.
It would nicely balance Maxwell Davies's Farewell to Stromness
lovely approachable piece from a composer people at one time
loved to fear.
The notes are perceptive and helpful.
This is an enlightened project and its funders deserve praise
as much as the musical and technical teams: Music Network/Arts
Council Music and the Arts Offices of Drogheda, Louth and Dundalk.