While the Pandemic persists in making regular concerts impossible, the Louth Contemporary Music Society continues its work in the studio. Last autumn’s CD release Meadow, featuring music by Linda Catlin Smith, won praise from leading critics on both sides of the Atlantic, including Alex Ross in The New Yorker. Now comes a follow-up, Embers - three world première recordings again devoted to music for strings – instruments that, in their intimacy, seem to touch our moment.
In Samuel Beckett's radio play Embers, the main character stands at the sea shore, sifting through fragments of memory and story that are still living embers, hot to the touch. So it is in this recording, in which music by distinguished Irish composer Raymond Deane supports robustly an important quartet by one of the great masters of our age, Valentin Silvestrov.
Deane’s other contribution is the title track, written thirty years earlier but with the same recognisable voice. Though perhaps more questioning than elegiac, Embers is music again on the edge of tears. Ideas, bits of tune, come and go, and recur, very much as things come and go, and come back once more, like in Beckett's play. To quote the composer: 'The piece obsessively turns over musical fragments which seem to have some remote but uncertain origin.'
Embers releases on 5 March 2021 on CD, iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Qobuz and all main digital service providers. It is the world première recording of Silvestrov, String Quartet No.3, Deane's Marthiya and of the string quartet (original) version of Deane's Embers, which has been released previously in its subsequent string orchestra version by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in 2016.
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Louth Contemporary Music Society is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and financially supported by Create Louth. Cover image: 'Grotto' by David Quinn, used with kind permission of the artist.
'Engaging and affecting, it’s a grower ... immaculately produced and designed ... When lockdown eases, I’m Louthward bound.' Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
'A program of great coherence. ... Superb release from a label we here on our side of the big lake wish to know a lot more soon.' Frédéric Cardin, Pan M 360