Irish composer/guitarist Dave Flynn, Artistic Director of the Irish Memory Orchestra (IMO), has just released a new album — IRISH MINIMALISM through the UK label First Hand Records. Featuring Mick O’Brien (uilleann pipes), Breanndán Begley (voice), ConTempo Quartet, and IMO Quartet, the album was produced by 11-time GRAMMY award winner Judith Sherman, and has liner notes from WNYC’s John Schaefer.
Available directly from firsthandrecords.com, and at all major online outlets.
No other ensemble in the world has the mix of instrumentation, repertoire, and performance style of the Irish Memory Orchestra — a unique ensemble that pioneered performing from memory as an orchestra — a trend that has caught fire among orchestras in the UK and in Ireland. Poised on the brink of wide international recognition, Flynn’s music, and the Irish Memory Orchestra have a wide appeal as indicated by successes from London to New York, Moscow to Japan.
Comprising 14 tracks, Irish Minimalism features two works for string quartet: The Cranning (String Quartet No. 2) and The Keening (String Quartet No. 3) — both performed by ConTempo Quartet. The two other pieces represented on the album, both featuring the IMO Quartet, are The Cutting (Quintet No. 1 for Uilleann Pipes and String Quartet) featuring Mick O’Brien uilleann pipes; and Stories from the Old World, where O’Brien is joined by the beautiful voice of Breanndán Begley.
With the title Irish Minimalism, composer Dave Flynn has laid down a marker. Minimalism is associated with America, and specifically with composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass (both of whom have spent a good portion of their careers disavowing the term).
But the hallmarks of the style — repetition; gradual, incremental changes that accrue over time; steady rhythms, often drawn from popular or traditional music; and a restrained sense of harmonic movement — are all compatible with Irish traditional music.
And after years spent as both a composer and performer working in the dual worlds of contemporary classical music and traditional song, By acknowledging the differences, and celebrating the similarities, Flynn has fashioned a personal musical language.