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.