Gavin Bryars: The Church Closest to the Sea; Eight Irish Madrigals

The double bass has always been close to Gavin Bryars’ heart. His own instrument, it has also featured strongly in his music for other players – as in The Church Closest to the Sea, written for Mr McFall’s Chamber and their bassist Rick Standley.

Voices, meanwhile, are a more recent concern, displayed here in typically understated settings of Petrarch translations by the Irish playwright J.M. Synge. Bryars’ music straddles worlds: classical and jazz, composition and improvisation, the works on this disc moving between the lushly sensuous and the coolly laid-back as they meditate on geographical and emotional borderlands.

"The inexorable ebb and flow in Bryars's music distils the sense of musical portraiture represented in The Church Closest to the Sea…There are moments of distilled beauty, too, in the earlier, Ave Maria-esque Epilogue from Wonderlawn. The work's calm veneer exposes at times a deeper restlessness, effectively communicated by Mr McFall's Chamber in a recording which brings out the very essence of Bryars's expressive voice"

"Always seeking new sonorities and means of expression, Bryars is one of the most interesting and exciting composers at work today. This disc isn’t an easy listen, but it is a very worthwhile one and the time spent with it can only enrich your life."

Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue: St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington, East Lothian
Recording dates: 12-13 January 2009
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 10
Release date: 9 November 2009
Catalogue No: DCD34058
Total playing time: 0:50:02

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