Schlepper-Connolly: The weathered stone

Reviewed on Thu 06 Oct, 2016

Swept by wind, pockmarked by rain, the title track is a nimble pas de deux for cello and piano altogether kaleidoscopic in its evocations of a quixotically changeable topography.

Inspired by land in west Sligo close to Ireland’s rugged Atlantic coastline, The weathered stone is a series of poetic impressions of a landscape in constant transition, perpetually tempered and transformed by weather and time. Benedict Schlepper-Connolly’s elegant and eloquent responses are as varied as the terrain. Swept by wind, pockmarked by rain, the title track is a nimble pas de deux for cello and piano altogether kaleidoscopic in its evocations of a quixotically changeable topography. It and 'A view from above' (for string quartet) make much of liquid swathes of music in which material is gathered and dispersed, reassembled and scattered again in surprising but always satisfyingly organic ways. A ‘song of memory, reflection and renewal’, the haunting 'Beekeepers' features the composer’s husky understated vocals supported by string quartet, piano and the aching croon of a chalumeau. The contemplative 'Field' adds synthesiser and bass clarinet to a time-lapse film in slow motion, its shifting surface masking the solid, stable foundation beneath. A thing of rare, rich beauty.
– Michael Quinn