Schubert: Four Impromptus, D 899; O’Connor: Self portrait; Schlepper-Connolly: Was du mir warst; Sholdice: The dreams flow down, too

Reviewed on Mon 15 Aug, 2016

Michael McHale juxtaposes Schubert’s four late Impromptus, D 899, with original pieces by three young Turks from a new and exciting generation of Irish composers.

Here’s something intriguing, poetically intense and altogether involving as Belfast pianist Michael McHale’s juxtaposes Schubert’s four late Impromptus, D 899, with original pieces by three young Turks from a new and exciting generation of Irish composers. The new works, part homage, part commentary, part thematic rumination complement mood and tone, while offering contrast in techniques that stretch the piano into contours of sinewy, sensual, shadowy and serene eloquence. Punctuated by stillness and silence, Simon O’Connor’s crystalline Self portrait offers a refracted take on the First, C minor, Impromptu. Benedict Schlepper-Connolly’s Was du mir warst is a pulsing and pensive meditation carried along by a liquescent ebb and flow. Referencing Schubert’s Nacht und Träume, Garrett Sholdice’s The dreams flow down, too carries itself with the hushed enthrallment of a dark reverie – crepuscular left-hand figures illuminated by darting firefly figurations in the right hand. McHale provides atmospheric readings for all, his Schubert low-key and understated, with the accent on beauty of sound on a 1987 Steinway Model D.
–Michael Quinn