William Sweeney: Tree o’ Licht

Both musically impassioned and socially engaged, William Sweeney’s music is at its most eloquent when voiced by that most human of instruments, the cello. The player navigates a stormy electronic landscape in the Borges-inspired The Poet Tells of his Fame, while Schumann lies behind the powerfully argued Sonata for Cello and Piano, recipient of a 2011 BASCA British Composer Award. The Sonata bears a joint dedication to Delphian artist Robert Irvine and to Erkki Lahesmaa – ‘keepers’, as Sweeney calls them, ‘of the cello’s inner voice’ – and Irvine is joined by his Finnish colleague here in the 2008 duo The Tree o’ Licht, in which Gaelic psalmody is transmuted into deepest instrumental expressivity.

"a veritable tour-de-force...Irvine has full measure of the works' intensely-argued seriousness"

"a style that seems to manage to have it both ways, preserving the expressive possibilities and archetypes of the Scottish folk tradition within an idiom that can call on techniques and technology from the whole modernist tradition since 1945...Simple and beautifully achieved."

"'The Poet Tells of His Fame' is the standout performance, Irvine playing over pre-recorded cello samples treated to give a series of tonal washes, whines and textures"

"a true artist's appreciation of dramatic climax, musicianship, and storytelling"



"A distinctively Scottish feel, beautifully created by the two cellos, drawing one in immediately with its entrancing atmosphere...This is an extremely rewarding release of works that are often quite beautiful and affecting"


"takes the cello into its highest range as a hommage to late night bird-song. It rings out with a sonorous appreciation of nature."


Producer: Paul Baxter
Release Date: 29 July 2013
Catalogue No: DCD34113
Total playing time: 1:00:46

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