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Garrett Sholdice: The Blue Light – Meditative focus and a sense of ritual

Composer marks turning 40 with sensitively performed album of piano and chamber music

Garrett Sholdice, The Blue Light
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Artist: Michael McHale (piano), Crash Ensemble
Genre: Classical
Label: Ergodos

The composer Garrett Sholdice, one of the founders of the Ergodos label, turns 40 this year, and he marking the occasion with a sensitively performed new album of piano and chamber music.

“This record,” he says, “showcases some recurrent preoccupations in my music over the past 10 years or so. There is an emphasis on meditative focus, varied repetition, and a certain sense of ritual. Also important is melody, but melody that is discovered, like an object unearthed.”

The solo piano piece Und Weinen, und Lächeln (And Weeping, and Smiling) takes its inspiration from a Schubert song, Des Fischers Liebesglück (The Fisherman’s Good Fortune in Love). The pacing and mood are entirely different: the piano’s rapid opening is mesmerising; the ending, after a downwards gear shift, leaves the listener in midair.

St Dunstan-in-the-East is almost strident by comparison, the piano contrasted with a squashed, cramped-sounding string quartet.


Piano Prelude No 12 has the straightforwardness of haloed but off-colour Erik Satie. Gymel, for viola and cello, is redolent of church chant. Das Blaue Licht (The Blue Light), for string quartet, celebrates the sky of a Berlin summer, with insect-like pizzicato and sultriness.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor