The Louth Contemporary Music Society proudly announces a bold initiative for these uncertain times. A series of recordings put together under the exceptional conditions of the pandemic, "out of silence" lets listeners eavesdrop on music-making of extraordinary care and intimacy. The recordings feature world-renowned composers attuned to the intricacies of silence as much as sound. Performances are by musicians of equal sensitivity and expertise.
The first "out of silence" release is "Meadow", by Linda Catlin Smith, who was born in New York but has long been resident in Canada. Perhaps her music required a move away, a quieter environment, a different pace, another view. It is not city music. Rather, in its tuning and in its atmosphere, it suggests natural landscapes.
"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.
Future releases will present music by the Irish composer Kevin Volans and the Swiss master of unexpected simplicity Jürg Frey, with whom the Louth Contemporary Music Society has over several years developed a close relationship.
Any new recording of Linda Catlin Smith's music is to be welcomed, but this issue of Meadow...feels very special." - The Rambler
Selected as one of The New Yorker's Notable Albums of 2020
Steve Smith's Album of the Week on Night After Night
Her writing in Meadow is at times almost self-effacing, but she is always there, nurturing the grainy textures of vibrato-shy lines as they weave in and out of alignment like blades of grass in a gentle breeze...[a]deeply meditative work" - Michael Dervan, The Irish TImes
"Meadow contains not a single gimmick, trick, conceit or 'A ha'; it is music that never encourages you to do anything other than continue listening to it, and I did, over and over. It is my favourite release of 2020, and I may not have adequately fulfilled the descriptive function of a review, but I will fulfil the teaser function: run, don't walk and go and listen to this for yourself. You really must." - Tempo
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