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David Bremner: Mixed Circuits – Rigorous and delicate treatment of four new works

The west Cumbria composer has been a stalwart of the Irish music scene since 1999

Album coverf artwork for Mixed Circuits by David Bremner
Mixed Circuits
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Artist: David Bremner
Genre: Classical
Label: Farpoint Recordings

Composer, pianist and organist David Bremner was born in west Cumbria and moved to Ireland in 1999. He has been a stalwart of the music scene here for nearly a quarter of a century, initially for his keyboard skills, more recently as a composer.

This new, excellently performed and documented, 92-minute double album features just four works. Possible Vignettes (2017-22) is for clarinet, viola and piano (Paul Roe, Andreea Banciu, Izumi Kimura), Pre & Con, or, Positions and Junctions (2021-22) for solo soprano (Elizabeth Hilliard), Logical Fallacies (2014) for soprano and viola, and Developing Variations (2016) for soprano, clarinet and piano (Bremner).

He describes his work as “minimalist in texture and harmonically complex”. There are flavours that evoke the machine-like strand in the work of György Ligeti, but the feeling is of obsession rather than direction. Processes are set up and rigorously but mostly delicately worked out, though anyone with an aversion to the splayed out and scrunched intervals of microtones will find moments to make them cavil at the notion of delicacy.

Although Bremner works regularly with Hilliard, in this album the purely instrumental opening work fascinates more than the pieces with texts by Rosmarie Waldrop, Billy Mills and Luís Vaz de Camões.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor