Shadowplay is a groundbreaking album which brings three of Ireland’s finest flute players (Aisling Agnew, Harry Bradley and Eimear McGeown) together with composer/guitarist Dave Flynn.
The album features three stylistically diverse works each showcasing the contrasting, virtuoso skills of the musicians;
Aisling Agnew is one of Ireland’s finest classical flautists; Harry Bradley is one of Ireland’s finest traditional flautists and Eimear McGeown is one of the few flautists who can play both classical and traditional Irish music to the highest level. Agnew and McGeown are the co-principal flautists of the Irish Memory Orchestra. Bradley was 2014 TG4 Gradam Ceoil Traditional Musician of the Year.
The combination of these three remarkable flautists with the unique compositional and guitar style of Dave Flynn make this a landmark release of Irish music.
About the Compositions:
Quirk No.2 – ‘Shadowplay’ (2002) displays Aisling Agnew’s supreme command of her instrument, her rich tone and her sensitive musicality. The full range of the flute and guitar are explored in this wonderful addition to the modern classical flute and guitar repertoire. Following a hypnotic opening the work builds to an ecstatic conclusion, with both flute and guitar gradually climbing until they reach the top of their range. Stylistically the piece reflects Flynn’s distinct take on post-minimalism which he developed at the turn of the millenium.
‘Ómós do Frankie Kennedy’ (2006) composed in homage to the late, great Altan flute player Frankie Kennedy, is the perfect showcase for the unique talents of Eimear McGeown. Few, if any, flautists would be able to so seamlessly combine classical and traditional Irish techniques like she does in this dynamic performance. Though primarily based on traditional Irish tune forms, the piece moves outside the usual melodic and harmonic boundaries of traditional Irish music. Beginning with a haunting ‘Air’ it gradually develops through traditional Irish dance music forms in minimalist fashion to a joyously jazzy conclusion. McGeown performs the piece on a hybrid flute, a classical silver flute with an Irish flute head-joint. This enables her to maintain an Irish flute tone whilst accessing the higher octave of the classical flute.
‘The Forest of Ornaments’ (2009) brings Harry Bradley into uncharted waters. Bradley is renowned for his authentic traditional flute playing, yet when Flynn approached him about a collaboration Bradley expressed a desire to try something far removed from conventional traditional music. In response Flynn created a unique composition that challenges the notion of what ‘Irish’ music is. He achieves this through a complex layering of haunting long tones and bubbling ornaments performed by Bradley on Irish flute, tin whistle, fife, Japanese shakuhachi and Slovakian fujara.
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