Louth Contemporary Music Society

A Place Between

Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS) celebrates some of the most world’s most popular contemporary composers in its first-ever CD. The new disc is titled A Place Between, and features world première recordings of works by John Tavener, Arvo Pärt, Valentin Silvestrov, Alexander Knaifel as well as pieces by Henryk Górecki and John Cage. All of these composers have, in various ways, been deeply influenced by profound spiritual, religious or cultural encounters. The CD, which is released on the Society’s Louth Contemporary Music Label on 1 May 2009, comes in a beautiful limited edition release.

The new release features a number of world renowned performers including the soprano Patricia Rozario, the Callino Quartet, pianist Michael McHale, violinist Ioana Petcu-Colan, flautist Vourneen Ryan and percussionist Stephen Kelly. The recordings were made in the acoustically superb historic setting of St. Peter’s Church of Ireland in Drogheda,  and the mixing, mastering and editing were carried out in the state-of-the-art Rainbow Studios in Oslo. A Place Between is available for purchase both as a CD and online at the iTunes Store and CD Baby from 1 May 2009.

The CD intersperses, to wonderful effect, beautiful works for string quartet (Silvestrov’s meditative “Ikon”, Tavener’s deeply moving “Ikon of Joy/Sorrow,” Pärt’s reflective “Da Pacem Domine”) with two solo piano works (Pärt’s uplifting “Hymn to a Great City,” Cage’s melodic and expressive “In a Landscape”). Górecki’s memorial for Michael Vyner “Good Night” and Knaifel’s mystical  “O Heavenly King” both feature the haunting voice of soprano Patricia Rozario. Silvestrov’s 25.X.1893 lullaby is a melancholic and lyrical piece for violin and piano.

A Place Between is presented with funding from the Music Network/Arts Council Music ~Recording Scheme 2008, and financially supported by Drogheda Arts Office, Louth County Arts Office and Dundalk Arts Office.

    • In Ireland the cd is available from Tower Records Wicklow St Dublin.
    • In the UK, it is available in all good records shops.
    • The CD is also available by digital download on iTunes and Amazon. Click this button A Place Between
    • For mail orders: The cd is available for purchase for €15 ( inclusive of VAT and P & P).
      For European orders please click button below to order the cd.

A Place Between Reviews

Almost all are receiving premiere recordings or premieres in these versions. In an age of anxiety and conflict, this music looks to higher levels of consciousness to provide reassurance. Regardless of whether you share such faith, there is no doubting the beauty of the music or the sincerity and conviction of these excellent performances.Barry Witherden BBC Music Magazine Review September 2009 Performance **** Recording ****

If you’re someone for whom contemporary music is a dissonant turn-off, then this could be the disc that converts you. The varied programme of short, often minimalist chamber music includes premiere recordings by Knaifel, Tavener, Pärt and Silvestrov, all inspired in some way by religious or cultural encounters. Inevitably then, the music is down-tempo, but it’s comtemplative rather than syrupy. It’s hard to single out favourites. Classic FM Magazine

Hats off the louth cms for producing such a beautiful thing. An excellent primer for anybody looking for an entrance to contemporary music.John Kelly, JK Ensemble RTÉ Lyric fm.

If I were CEO of a major corporate record label I would send a copy of A Place Between to every member of my classical division. And I would demand an explanation as to why an impecunious independent label can produce something this important, while my own staff continue schmoozing teenage opera stars at industry award events.” From An Overgrown Path

Gramophone Magazine Oct.09.
The godfathers of spiritual minimalism in a beautifully understated recording.
There are moments of understated beauty, notably in Valentin Silvestrov’s Lullaby for violin and piano. Written to commemorate the centenary of Tchaikovsky’s death, a series of hauntin melodic variations are woven in the violin around a descending, chaconne-like chord progression, with the piano progressively reinforcing each melodic statement. Russian minimalist Alexander Knaifel also inhabits a similar musical universe, as heard here in O Heavenly King.

Silvestrov’s Lullaby is more immediately expressive than Part’s similarly conceived and better known Spiegel im Spiegel. His music is represented here in Hymn to a Great City for two pianos ( multitracked on this recording by the talented Michael McHale): a cleverly constructed  ”mirror” of imperfect-perfect cadences (ie C major to G major and back again). If the majority of the disc’s music appears to be in suspended animation, Gorecki’s Good Night brings proceedings almost to a standstill, with the final movement “sounding out” in complete silence. Appropriate then that the dreamy In a Landscape by the patron saint of silence himself, John Cage, should round things off.
Pwyll ap Sion.

Music Web International
The inaugural recording by the Louth Contemporary Music Society offers religious minimalism in a range of flavours. It’s essentially an ambient album, subdued chamber music recorded in the warm acoustic of a large church, but the choice of works and composers makes for a varied programme.

The performances are of a consistently high standard, and a special mention should be made of the ensemble’s guest star, the soprano Patricia Rozario, although her two short appearances are all too brief. Good recorded sound too, although the church acoustic is perhaps a little overly resonant, even for that ‘ambient’ sound. The halo around the solo piano in this environment is strikingly similar to that of many of the ECM recordings of works by some of these composers. The economic success and iconic status of those recordings would be a laudable goal for this and future recording projects from the contemporary music enthusiasts of Louth.
Music Web International 2nd Review

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