Performers: The Carducci Quartet,Patricia Rozario, Eamonn Dougan, Joachim Roewer, Malachy Robinson, Deirdre O’Leary.Elizabeth Cooney assisted by Tommaso Perego,Doreen Curran,The Dublin Guitar Quartet,Michael McHale, Vourneen Ryan and Ranjana Ghatak
Label: Louth Contemporary Music
Cat. No.: LCMS1001
Release: 1 November 2010. Dundalk Ireland
In 1985, the Italian composer Luigi Nono saw an inscription on the wall of the church of San Francisco in Toledo: “Caminantes, no hay caminos, hay que caminar” – “Travellers, there are no roads, but we must go on”. In 2010, Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS) take the listener on a rewarding journey on their new cd Path. First recordings of works by John Tavener ( Epistle of Love and Samaveda) and Arvo Pärt ( Von Angesicht zu Angesicht and Summa) are interspersed with new voices and sounds from different paths, Aleksandra Vrebalov from Serbia The Spell III, Uzbekistan courtesy of Dmitri Yanov Yanovsky’s Chang Music IV and Polina Medyulanova’s Ewige Ruhe plus Georgian composer’s Zurab Nadareishvili’s sublime String Quartet No1. The CD, which is released on the Society’s Louth Contemporary Music record label on 1 November 2010, comes in a beautiful limited edition release.
Path features a number of world renowned performers including the soprano Patricia Rozario, the Carducci Quartet, baritone Eamonn Dougan, Joachim Roewer violist, Malachy Robinson double bassist, clarinetist Deirdre O’Leary, pianist Michael McHale, violinist Elizabeth Cooney, flautist Vourneen Ryan and tampura player Ranjana Ghatak. The recordings were made in a number of settings: Potton Hall Suffolk, St.Michael’s Highgate London, St. Paul’s Deptford London and Grouse Lodge, Ireland with the mixing, mastering and editing carried out in Six Productions suite in London.
The CD opens with the beguiling sonorities of Yanov-Yanovsky’s Chang Music IV (1991), where the composer succeeds in transferring the sounds of the Uzbek Chang a traditional Uzbek instrument to the string quartet. Pärt’s Von Angesicht zu Angesicht (2005) is a contemplation on the First Letter of St.Paul to the Corinthians For now we see through a glass, darkly sung with great reverence by Eamonn Dougan and Patricia Rozario. The Dublin Guitar Quartet perform Pärt’s Summa (1997/1991) for the first time in a sumptuous version for guitar quartet under the guidance of the composer. Medyulanova’s meditative Ewige Ruhe (2004) allows a moment of calm for the departed to be followed by Vrebalov’s mystical The Spell III (2008) which includes sampled voices from the vocal group Moba. Tavener’s deeply moving Epistle of Love (2000) features the haunting voice of Patricia Rozario and lute like piano playing of Michael McHale. Nadareishvili’s reflective String Quartet No1,Mvt III (1987) is performed with great sensitivity by the Carducci quaret and the cd closes with the Indian influenced composition Sámaveda (1997) for soprano, flute and tampura.
Path is presented with funding from the Music Network/Arts Council Music Recording Scheme 2009, and financially supported by Create Louth.
N.B. LCMS have no remaining copies of Path. It may be available as a physical cd from the following:
- In Ireland from Tower Records Wicklow St Dublin.
- In the UK from all good records shops. Also HMV, Amazon, Play
It is also available as a digital download from
Path has already received rave reviews as follows:
BBC Music Magazine gives PATH 5 Stars for Performance and Recording May 2011
Except for the extract from Nadarejshvili’s quartet all these pieces are receiving their premiere recording (Part’s Summa is realised by guitar quartet here), and all are rooted in ancient folk traditions. Yanovsky’s piece is inspired by the Chang, a traditional Uzbeki stringed instrument. To evoke this, the quartet uses plucking and percussive techniques, vividly conjuring visions of folk-dances surviving from time immemorial, but the opening materialises from ethereal notes which gradually give way to more corporeal, though no less mysterious, sounds. The Carducci Quartet also performs the third movement of Nadarejshvili’s quartet, a threnody drawing on Georgian folk sources that evolves from restrained pizzicato gestures above a quiet drone to an outcry about the experiences of Georgia under Stalinism.
Part’s Face to Face for soprano, baritone, clarinet, viola and bass contains some of his bleakest ever music but, by the end of its brief span, this meditation on St Paul’s ‘through a glass darkly’ epistle is imbued with the A major light of understanding. Tavener’s Samaveda effectively, features the tampura and flute to surround Patricia Rozario’s voice with intimations of eternal wisdom. Rozario is also featured to impressive effect on Epistle.
Medyulyanova’s Eternal Peace, beautifully’ sung by Doreen Curran, is a comparatively, lush piece of neo-Romanticism, contrasting dramatically with Vrebalov’s Spell, a mesmerising piece for violin interacting with live electronics and pre-recorded choral fragments. Barry Witherden PERFORMANCE ***** RECORDING *****
American Record Guide Reviews Path March 2011
This is an interesting, and often moving, collection of unusual contemporary works. There really is no unifying theme, though all the music has something of a spiritual, meditative character. All but one of the performances are world premieres.
Arvo Part and John Tavener are the well- known figures here, and they are both some- times described as “holy minimalists”. Part’s Face to Face is a recent work, from 2006, scored for baritone, soprano, clarinet, viola, and dou- ble bass. The text is in Russian, from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (“for now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face”). The lyric vocal lines are accompanied by pointillistic bursts from the instruments. Summa is more typical of Part’s style that first caught public affection—slowly building, over- lapping phrases, tonal and meditative. The work was originally choral and liturgical, but is better known in an arrangement for string orchestra. In this arrangement for the Dublin Guitar Quartet the plucked strings sound quite natural and effective.
Tavener’s Epistle of Love is a song cycle for soprano and piano. The text is from Medieval Serbian monks, and the music evokes that era, especially in the vocal lines. Samaveda is for soprano and flute, with the soprano also playing the tampura. That’s the drone strings heard in northern Indian music (I’ve seen it spelled tamboura); since the drone is constant, there can be no real sense of chord progression, and the music makes its effect purely by the interplay of the two melodic lines. The text is in Sanskrit, and the piece was written to celebrate India’s independence from Great Britain 50 years earlier.
Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky is from Uzbekistan, and his music includes both contemporary Western styles and traditional Asian music. The chang is a traditional Uzbeki stringed instrument, and Chang Music 4 is a dialog between the two worlds. The Carducci Quartet handles the special effects—harmonics, percussion, odd bowing, quarter tones— with perfect skill, and their performance is fascinating.
Polina Medyulyanova is another Uzbeki, and her Eternal Peace is an appropriately restful, beautiful setting of the Introit from the Requiem Mass. The setting is for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, and string quartet. Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov’s The Spell is for solo violin and electronics and is based on a folk song about a fairy who has lost her powers because of her love for a mortal. The violin is linked to a computer program that brings in sampled sounds from a vocal group performing the same music, though at different points. I’m not generally sympathetic to such contrivances, but I found this quite beautiful.
The most moving performance (and the only work that is not a world premiere) is the slow movement from Georgian composer Zurab Nadarejshvili’s first string quartet. Imagine Barber’s Adagio (also originally for string quartet) but with gestures rather than long melodic lines. The work also evokes Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs in its evocation of suffering and its arching formal arrangement.
These performances by the Louth Contemporary Music Society are all expert, committed and convincing. Unfortunately, the notes say nothing about the musicians—they don’t even identify what instruments they play, though most can be deduced from the photos in the notes. They deserve better. If you have a taste for discovering some new and beautiful music, this will be worth obtaining.KEATON
The Strad Feb 2011
The players of the excellent Carducci Quartet are the perfect exponents of this lyrical yet gritty collection of contemporary music, which includes world premiere recordings of Arvo Pärt alongside works by lesser-known composers from Uzbekistan, Serbia and Georgia, as well as a pair of new vocal pieces by John Tavener.
Dmitri Yanov Yanovsky’s otherworldly Chang Music IV for quartet makes a strong start, and the second of its two movements is particularly appealing: the infectious pulse is thrummed out on the bodies of the instruments while fragments of pizzicato and glissando build up, layer upon layer.
Violist Joachim Roewer and double bassist Malachy Robinson join baritone Eamonn Dougan, soprano Patricia Rozario and clarinettist Deirdre O’Leary for an uplifting performance of Pärt’s Von Angesicht zu Angesicht. Polina Medylyanov’s Ewige Ruhe, for mezzo-soprano, string quartet and clarinet, occassionally sounds pedestrian by comparison, but it is nonetheless finely performed.
The intricate textures of Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov’s The Spell III, for violin and live electronics, are described with infinite care by Elizabeth Cooney. Equally compelling is the third movement of Zurab Nadarejshvili’s String Quartet no.1, from the hocketed pizzicato of the opening to the climatic wild lament – I long to hear the other movements, sadly not included here. The Carducci Quartet never slackens the intensity. Recorded sound throughout has superb presence. Catherine Nelson The Strad Feb 2011
LCMS’s cd Path is listed in the Guardian/Observer as a hidden gem for 2010.
Path Louth Contemporary Music Society LCMS It’s not obvious from the bright, abstract packaging what this CD contains. Eight of nine tracks are world premiere recordings. The title relates, obliquely, to Italian composer Luigi Nono’s observation: “There are no roads, but we must go on.” The acoustic music, performed by the Carducci Quartet, Dublin Guitar Quartet and others, is by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and less familiar names. Truly a hidden gem. Fiona Maddocks Dec 2010 The Observer.
Music Web international
Music that engages with a wider cultural context, yet has intensity of feeling and emotional focus. Gavin Dixon
Ireland’s LCMS is an admirable repository of modern composition. Path offers a typical miscellany of contemporary works – the Dublin Guitar Quartet’s sublime take on Arvo Pärt’s Summa and Patricia Rozario and Michael McHale’s world premiere recording of John Tavener’s Epistle of Love among its exquisitely rendered highlights ****Path David Sheppard Mojo
Ireland is not renowned for new music but some East-Euros who moved there are making a fabulous noise. This showcase contains two chunks of Chang Music by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky (definitely one to watch), an Arvo Pärt world premiere and Eternal Peace by Polina Medyulanova that induced tears. Much else, besides. The Carducci Quartet lead a great performing team. Path (Louth CMS)**** Norman Lebrecht
Michael Dervan The Irish Times
Various performers, Louth Contemporary Music Society LCMS 1001 ****
Louth Contemporary Music Society is one of the most adventurous music promoters in Ireland. It also stretches its boundaries in the recording studio as well as in concert. The centre of gravity on this latest disc lies to the East. Dimitri Yanov-Yanovski and Polina Nadarejshvili are from Uzbekistan, Zurab Nadarejshvili from Georgia, Arvo Pärt from Estonia, and Alexandra Vrebalov from Serbia. And the one Englishman, John Tavener, has been heavily influenced by the music of the Orthodox Church, and, on Samaveda , Indian Saman chant. Reflective calm is the dominanting characteristc, sometimes conveying a mode and mood that can seem almost frozen, memories locked and looping, distilled for minutest inspection. There are strong performances from a line-up that includes the Carducci Quartet, the Dublin Guitar Quartet, soprano Patricia Rozario and pianist Michael McHale. See louthcms.org © 2010 The Irish Times
World premieres by Arvo Pärt and John Tavener are the main attractions of this anthology, though supporting material by Uzbek, Serbian and Georgian composers is equally engaging, particularly the two movements of Yanovsky’s “Chang Music IV”, which blend cello glissandi with koto-style pizzicato.****Andy Gill The UK Independent
An Overgrown Path
Path from Louth Contemporary Music’s own label is one of those rare ‘stop you dead in your tracks’ discs. From the very first bars it is clear that something quite exceptional has been captured; this is an intelligently planned programme of important music played by exceptional musicians and recorded in demonstration quality sound…..what looks to be a strong contender for my 2010 disc of the year.
Classical Cd Reviews
That edge is a recurring feature in the following works. Most are calm, but not so eventless as to be ambient. The programme strikes an impressive balance between spiritual directness and intellectual engagement. The variety of approaches from the various composers means that that balance is reconfigured and re-evaluated with almost every work…..Happily, LCMS is the kind of organisation that is prepared stand out from the crowd. In terms of programming, that’s the real strength of this disc.