A place between

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COMPOSERS: Górecki and Cage,Knaifel,Part,Silvestrov,Tavener
LABELS: Louth Contemporary Music Society
WORKS: Chamber and Vocal works by Tavener, Pärt, Knaifel, Silvestrov, Górecki and Cage
PERFORMER: Patricia Rozario (soprano), Voumeen Ryan (flute), Ioana Petcu-Colan (violin), Stephen Kelly (percussion), Michael McHale (piano, celeste), Callino Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: LCMS 901 (dist. Proper)

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The inclusion of John Cage alongside a number of so-called holy minimalists seems surprising, but the ‘hook’ for this collection is the effect that profound religious and cultural encounters have had on the composers, and Cage was a pioneer in incorporating lessons from Eastern philosophies and artistic stances.

His serene 1948 work In a Landscape is given a sensitive reading by Michael McHale. If you thought there was nothing more to Cage than conceptual gimmicks, then this may well make you think again.The rest of the composers featured here are less controversial, but no less significant to the state of serious music at the turn of the millennium. All the pieces were composed (or, in the case of Pärt’s hymn to New York, radically revised) within the last two decades.

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Almost all are receiving premiere recordings or premieres in these versions. In an age of anxiety and conflict, this music looks to higher levels of consciousness to provide reassurance. Regardless of whether you share such faith, there is no doubting the beauty of the music or the sincerity and conviction of these excellent performances. Barry Witherden