All the ends of the earth reaches across nine centuries to connect three contemporary Irish voices with the music of a mediæval master. Present-day Dublin and 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral have never seemed closer in this, the latest time-shrinking project by the visionary Ergodos Musicians.
Music by a French mediæval master, known simply as Léonin, forms the focus of this record. Léonin time-stretches a plainchant tune, Viderunt omnes, and places beautiful lyrical counter-melodies on top of it; this music seems even more transcendent as time passes.
Irish composers Linda Buckley, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Garrett Sholdice have found inspiration in the clarity of Léonin’s constructions, and the quality of his simple materials. Their works are personal acts of homage, remembrance and celebration.
Vocalist Michelle O’Rourke is heard layered on the opening track, a simple, declamatory realisation of the inspirational music by Léonin. Garrett Sholdice’s ritualistic, almost shamanistic, Song for Magister Léonin, written for ensemble, zooms in on Léonin’s world, creating a procession of self-contained images, simultaneously stark and full with emotion — reminiscent of the two- dimensional religious art of Léonin’s time.
In his central instrumental diptych, All the ends of the earth, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly crafts intricate, interlocked phrases out of tiny fragments from Léonin’s texture. These are set into motion, gracefully spinning and turning; gradually, over time they are changed, like clay on the potter’s wheel.
Linda Buckley’s Revelavit returns us to the world of O’Rourke’s layered voice. Here, Buckley paints in bright colours and bold, celebratory arcs, creating dovetailing counterpoints from undulating plainchant. Something of this major-key celebration still flickers in Sholdice’s solo piano closer, Weihnachtliche Musik. The title — ‘christmas music’ — reflects the original use of Viderunt omnes as the plainchant for Christmas Day. A moment of quiet reflection, fleeting yet full of weight.
released December 5, 2014
Produced by Garrett Sholdice and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Roy Carroll, recording engineer
Alexander Harker, mastering engineer
Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, design
Bernard i. Hermi, photography
Michelle O’Rourke, voice
Jonathan Sage, clarinet
Kate Ellis, cello
Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, guitar
Garrett Sholdice, piano
Recorded at Studio Boerne 45, Berlin, on 3–6 January 2014. Mixed in Berlin in July and August 2014. Mastered in Huddersfield in August 2014.
Presented with funding from the Arts Council Music Recording Scheme, managed by Music Network.