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Monday, December 20, 2021

Dave Flynn, Irish Minimalism


On some level the Minimalist turn at times has been consonant with hypnotic repetitions in Folk music the world round. With composer Dave Flynn's recent release Irish Minimalism (FHR FHR116) we experience a chamber music that explicitly ties with traditional Irish Folk music and thereby injects a feel and form that both embraces and transcends conventional Minimalism. Of course Irish dance music and song have created a music universe that continues to thrive and was a wide-world influence way long before Minimalism came into the New Music scene.

Dave Flynn manages in this lively CD program to capture the energy, lyrical heft and compelling presence of traditional Irish music at the same time as he injects classical instrumentation and Minimalist flow into the sequencing. There can be a bagpipe like drone and phrasing that straddles folk and classical at times in ways that grab your attention and draw you into its orbit. Some sections are more firmly in Folk territory, some more solidly into a Minimalist sound, but it is nicely shifting, ever shifting.

The music makes use of Classical chamber ensembles (ConTempo Quartet, IMO Quartet, the uilleann pipes of Mick O'Brien and the folk-like vocals of Breanndan Begley. There is variety, variation and freshenings in the four works, variously titled "The Cranning" (String Quartet No. 1) "The Cutting" (Quintet No. 1 for Uilleann Pipes and String Quartet),  "The Keening" (String Quartet No. 3), and "Stories from the Old World" (for Voice, Pipes and Quartet).

In the end if you are like me you welcome the rightness and musicality of the hybrid and are glad for Dave Flynn's imaginative music. Recommended if the title intrigues you, for that is exactly what you get in nice ways. It all works together happily. Bravo!

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