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Classical Music Review

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The Passing Sound of Forever
The Chamber Works of Jane O'Leary


Composer: Jane O'Leary
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 January 2017

Sound and space are two elements that emerge at the heart of Jane O’Leary’s The Passing Sound of Forever. The collection showcases O’Leary’s string writing as she demonstrates her sensitivity to the instruments’ sonic palette and expressive potential. Every colour, from ethereal natural harmonics to frenetic bowing, is at O’Leary’s disposal, and is exploited to produce evocative and compelling soundscapes...

If you're a fan of conventional classical/choral compositions, then you might take a little time to warm to Jane O'Leary's work here - but you should grow to appreciate it over time.

'A Winter Sketchbook' delivers exactly what you'd expect. Here O'Leary sketches out sounds to bring forth a feeling of winter in the listener.

While the album showcases O'Leary's skill at string writing, not all the pieces here feature strings. The clarinet and piano duo 'Murmurs and Echoes' creates the sense that its two instruments are communicating across great time and distance, most notably so in its last movement. When their respective gestures mirror one another’s, they do so with the distortion of an echo crossing a vast space.

Over the course of these 13 tracks (1 hr, 29 sec) there are a lot of discordant elements and a feeling of freeform improvisation. Standard structures are played with and the end result is something that will certainly create a very strong emotion in the listener. Although, whether that's a good or bad emotion will depend on the listener's point of view.

Track listing:

01 - A Way Through (2013)
Concorde  |  Madeleine Staunton (alto flute),
Paul Roe (bass clarinet),  Dermot Dunne (accordion)

02 - No. 19 (2012)
Elaine Clark (violin)

murmurs and echoes (2015)
Paul Roe (clarinet),  David Bremner (piano)

03 - I.
04 - II.
05 - III.
06 - IV.
07 - V.

A Winter Sketchbook (2015)
Concorde  |  Madeleine Staunton (alto flute),
Elaine Clark (violin)

08 - I.
09 - III.

10 - ...from hand to hand... (2011)
Andreja Malir (concert harp),  Martin Johnson (cello)

the passing sound of forever... (2015)
ConTempo Quartet Bogdan Sofei (violin I),
Ingrid Nicola (violin II),  Andreea Banciu (viola),
Adrian Mantu (cello)

11 - I.
12 - II. 
13 - III.


Darren Rea

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