“A meadow”, the composer has said, “is a simple place, with elements that are there quite naturally; it’s not a spectacular garden, but if you look closely there are many different types of plants and tiny flowers. It is a place of infinite variation.”
This is how the music goes, weaving a meadow, weaving through a meadow, in stray fragments of tune that will be repeated until they dissolve or give way to something else, through chord sequences that move slowly but inexorably. Listeners are drawn into this gentle but alert music by three outstanding Irish string players: Mia Cooper on violin, Joachim Roewer on viola and Bill Butt on cello. There is no hurry, no need to hurry. To quote Linda Catlin Smith again, “I like to sit with things for a while, to dwell in the material, to have a chance to listen.” This is the kind of experience she provides in Meadow.
On the cover of the album is a striking image by the Irish artist Alice Maher.
The cd will be available online and physical from Proper Music from 11 December 2020
Future releases will present music by the Irish composer Valentyn Silvestrov and the Swiss master of unexpected simplicity Jürg Frey, with whom the Louth Contemporary Music Society has over several years developed a close relationship.
Funded by the Arts Council and financially supported by Create Louth
Mia Cooper (violin), Joachim Roewer (viola) and William Butt (cello) play with a tactful reserve that serves to highlight the occasional moments of glowing warmth or severe discordant tension in this deeply meditative work.
Michael Dervan The Irish Times
Linda Catlin Smith: Meadow (Louth CMS)
Any new recording of Linda Catlin Smith’s music is to be welcomed, but this issue of Meadow, released by Louth Contemporary Music Society near the very end of the year (launch event on 11 December here) feels very special. A 30-minute string trio, Meadow scrapes a little deeper into the influences of early music that frequently run beneath the surface of Smith’s music: like a Dufay motet it conveys an atmosphere of melody and polyphony without constraint, but also of contemplation and extraordinary warmth. If Höstman caught the end of the pre-pandemic world, maybe her Canadian contemporary points to a future after it.
Releases of 2020
Alex Ross’ Notable Recordings of 2020
Linda Catlin Smith, “Meadow”; Mia Cooper, Joachim, Bill Butt (Louth Contemporary Music Society)