“The power and impact of these performances are the product of the seriousness with which Caitríona O’Leary and her colleagues take both the story of Ledred’s fierce treatment of his innocent victims and the spirituality of his Latin verses…
There isn’t a dull or disappointing track on the disc… The results are fascinating.”
The German magazine Piano News has reviewed The Richter Scale.
“This cycle is a journey through an interesting mind game about how to represent a natural event through the sound of the piano. It is the force of nature that worries us all, capable of destroying, the unpredictability and immense impact on what we see as life on the planet that makes us all tremble before it. Here this trembling is translated into music – poetic, lyrical, drastic.”
On Friday 3rd February 2023 Heresy Records will release The Richter Scale, a new piano composition by German composer Boris Bergmann. The hour-long work was created for Steinway’s Spirio | r, respected as the world’s finest high resolution player piano and receives a stupendous performance on this premiere CD by the young Chinese Steinway Artist Ji Liu. The Richter Scale is a programmatic composition in 11 movements inspired by Charles F. Richter’s scale for measuring the magnitude of earthquakes.
The Richter Scale premiered in concert at Steinway Hall London in November in 2019 and was recorded at Steinway Shanghai in September 2021. Over the past year the young London-based Chinese pianist Ji Liu as performed the piece at major concert venues throughout China.
Throughout his life Charles Richter devoted himself to the reconciliation of science and art. Several movements of Bergmann’s cunning composition are written for four hands. Rather than using two pianists, Bergmann expertly employs the Steinway Spirio | r replacing the second pianist. Thus, the pianist programs one part of the 4-handed composition on the Spirio’s computer and then plays together with – and at times against – himself, resulting in a compelling colloquy between man and machine. The Steinway Spirio has the remarkable capability of reaching beyond the technical realm of any human pianist and these sections of the work add a thrilling dimension to this remarkable amazing composition for piano.
The Richter Scale engages with the theme of subterranean seismic eruption as a broader reflection of cultural and emotional states of trauma, upheaval and resolution. Particularly in our post-pandemic global environment, the work serves as a metaphoric meditation on the environmental, geopolitical, medical, cultural and social cataclysms gripping and transforming the world today. In terms of structure, the composition is a kind of musical episodic film describing bizarre historic events relating to earthquakes. For example, Piece Five, Recurring Dream, reflects the true story of a cook who had put himself in great danger to save others during the severe earthquake of 2008 in Pakistan / India. This event triggered a deep personal crisis in him which manifested itself in recurring dreams which haunted him for many years. Piece Seven, Dance of The Things, is inspired by a video of a mad, infernal choreography performed by furniture and objects in an abandoned office during an earthquake. The eighth piece, How to Dance Out An Earthquake, is also a dance piece inspired by video recordings. It shows the unintentional dance of an office worker while the entire building shakes and plaster crumbles from the walls. There is nothing to hold on to, yet he manages to stay on his feet with frantically fast and nimble movements – an intuitive dance for survival. The ninth piece, Reversing the Mississippi, describes an historical event, the New Madrid earthquakes at the beginning of the nineteenth century in America. According to eyewitnesses, the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a short time.
The team for Heresy Records’ release of The Richter Scale is comprised of highly respected artists in their field, including, Producer Khan of Finland, Composer Boris Bergmann, Pianist Ji Liu and Executive Producer Eric Fraad. The groundbreaking artwork was created by Frankfort based design studio, SchultzSchultz, director Ole Schulte.
The Richter Scale will be available on CD at international record stores and online shops and digitally via all major DSPs including Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, etc.
A Planet’s Pulse
Richter the Poet
Expecting the Big One
Dance of the Things
How to dance out an Earthquake
Reversing the Mississippi
Voyager Golden Record
Epilogue – To the Beloved Ones
FACETS OF THE RICHTER PROJECT
The Richter Scale is the centerpiece of The Richter Project. The Richter Project is comprised of 3 recordings. These are The Richter Scale Premixes, The Richter Scale and The Richter Scale Remixes. The Richter Scale has been described above. The Richter Scale Premixes (4 track EP) and Remixes (4 track EP) are collaborations between Boris Bergmann, Ji Liu and Berlin techno musician/producer, Khan of Finland. Prior to the complete recording of The Richter Scale movements of The Richter Scale were recorded by Ji Liu and remixed by Khan of Finland. Since the first four of these tracks were recorded and remixed prior to the official recording of The Richter Scale they are called Premixes. The Richter Scale Premixes will be released digitally by Heresy Records on 6th January 2023 and The Richter Scale Remixes will be released on 10th March 2023. The Premixes and Remixes add a compelling dimension to The Richter Scale. These electronic orchestrations retain the elemental essence of the original compositions while adding new sonic dimensions that will engage listeners of classical music, contemporary classical, techno and other popular genres.
The team for Heresy Records’ release of The Richter Scale Premixes EP is comprised of highly respected artists in their field, including, Producer Khan of Finland, Composer Boris Bergmann, Pianist Ji Liu and Executive Producer Eric Fraad. Groundbreaking artwork for the Premixes was created by Frankfort based design studio, SchultzSchultz, director Ole Schulte.
For US and European enquiries please contact:
Helene Kamioner at firstname.lastname@example.org / +1 718 796 9802
Caitríona O’Leary takes Matthew Bannister of the popular Folk on Foot podcast to the Franciscan church where Bishop Waddinge is buried and to St Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy where the area’s most famous carol was collected.
We also meet the retired fisherman Dixie Devereux whose father sang the carols every Christmas for 62 years – and who is now passing on the tradition to his own son. A fascinating story with gorgeous music creating an atmospheric, seasonal experience.
Caitríona O’Leary’ features in the TASTEMAKER section of The Business Post on November 11, 2022. She answers some questions put to her by Ben Haugh.
What was your earliest ambition?
To be Jana of the Jungle.
What’s a scent that you associate with your childhood?
The smell of burnt matches – this brings me right back to camping holidays with my family in Donegal or Kerry. It conjures up the echo of the match being struck, the whoosh of the gas flowing, the touching of the flame to the mantle of the gas lantern, the blue of the burning gas, the rattle of the glass back down around the flame, and the crescendo of whoosh as the light is turned up.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Very much an introvert. Except onstage.
What’s your motto for life?
It’s all only a game! I tend to take things too seriously. Except games.
Smock Alley Theatre – Friday, November 18 at 8pm.
Kate Bush is an artist like none other – weaving rock, classical and folk music to extraordinary effect. Her lyrics are highly dramatic, drawing on a wide range of literary and cinematic sources, exploring themes of childhood, love, death, war and mythology.
On Friday, November 18, at Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre, Caitríona O’Leary – acclaimed by Crescendo Magazine for ‘her angelic and etheral voice – will perform the very best of Bush’s songs, translated into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock. She will be joined by Nick Roth (keyboard), Adrian Hart (fiddle), Éamonn Galldubh (flute, whistles, uilleann pipes), David Redmond (double bass) and Matt Jacobson (drums). The show features on-screen projections of the lyrics with images created by Margaret Lonergan.
IMRAM works to put Irish language literature at the heart of our nation’s public life, through an innovative annual festival, supporting writers and publishers, encouraging the sale of books, provoking debate, and engaging Irish speakers and Irish learners across Ireland and the diaspora.
The Irish Times Ticket – Saturday, November 12, 2022
German magazine AUDIO has reviewed Citadel of Song by Anakronos.
In “Citadel of Song”, the medieval ensemble Anakronos breathes new life into ten texts from Boccaccio’s “Decameron” with elements of fusion jazz, prog rock and contemporary classical music. With this revival of 14th century Italian love poetry, the Irish elfin-voiced singer Caitríona O’Leary confirms her status as the world’s leading early music avant-gardist.
Chinese pianist & composer Ji Liu awarded Guinness World Record for ‘Sonata Fantasy, The Book of Moments’ the longest officially released instrumental
Heresy Records have released Ji Liu’s, Sonata Fantasy, The Book of Moments. The 18 hour and 9-minute-long piece was awarded the Longest Officially Released Instrumental by Guinness World Records. Known primarily as one of his generations foremost concert pianists, Ji Liu is also internationally active as a composer and holds a PhD from Kings College, London in music composition.
More about Ji Liu
Ji Liu says about the creation of his composition, “The Book of Moments was composed during the pandemic and was influenced by my experiences and travels between the east and west in 2020. To me, this project was a lens through which I see the world and exists as a species of performance art that transcends its purely musical dimensions. The Book of Moments also pays homage to the sacrifices made by front-line professionals and staff members who worked day and night and enlightened our society during this challenging and memorable odyssey.”
This unprecedented work, which spans contemporary/new classical and minimalism, premiered live at the Wave Lounge, Seatopia Cultural Community, Qinhuangdao, a town on the east coast of China, from 7:00 am on December 31, 2020, until 1:00 am January 1, 2021, and was also steamed live on YouTube. The Book of Moments will be released by Dublin-based, Heresy Records digitally and will be available on all major digital download and streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.
Structurally Sonata Fantasy The Book of Moments is a massive single-movement sonata with an exposition, development, recapitulation and a coda. It is comprised of 21 chapters which seamlessly connect with each other while retaining their own distinct features and character.
Inspired in part by Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor and Ji’s extensive research on Franz Schubert, certain chapters were written with opening endings or endings with long silences and pauses that demonstrate their unfinished form. These contrast with those chapters with finite and completed endings. The work also features sections where the pianist is intended to improvise at specific points in the piece. The Book of Moments is also influenced by contemporary composers who wrote rare compositions in long and complex forms such as Michael Finnissy, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Morton Feldman, John Cage and Frederic Rzewski.
The Island of Saints is a new ground-breaking feature length music film by director Eric Fraad inspired by the medieval/jazz fusion ensemble Anakronos’ highly-acclaimed album, The Red Book of Ossory and its backstory.
The Island of Saints oscillates between three types of scenes; music performance scenes of Anakronos performing music from The Red Book of Ossory, scenes dramatising the infamous witch hunt and trial of Dame Alice Kyteler in 1324 and the burning of her servant Petronilla de Meath and hallucinatory music videos that engage with philosophical themes in the songs from The Red Book of Ossory.
Written, Produced & Directed by Eric Fraad
Music Director – Caitríona O’Leary
Producer – Karina Lundström
Executive Producer, Paula Heil Fisher
Director of Photography – Martin Mai
Costumes Designer – Monica Ennis
Edited by Martin Mai
Art Direction – David McDermott
Hair and Makeup Design – Tee Elliot
Recorded by Alex Borwick
Caitríona O’Leary, Voice
Nick Roth, Soprano Saxophone, Recorders, Percussion
Deirdre O’Leary, Clarinets, Percussion
Greg Felton, Nord Synthesizer, Percussion
Mel Mercier, Percussion
Richard de Ledrede, Bishop of Ossory – Raymond Keane
Petronilla de Meath, The Virgin Mary – Megan O’Malley
Dame Alice Kyteler – Caitríona O’Leary
William Outlaw – Ethan Dillon
Artisson – Vitor Bassi
Dominican Friar, Assistant to Artisson – Michael Cooney
Dominican Friar, Assistant to Artisson – Gavan O’Connor Duffy
Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, Begin Together Arts Fund (Bank of Ireland / Business to Arts), Fingal County Council, Heresy Films.
Reviews for THE RED BOOK OF OSSORY & ANAKRONOS
★★★★★ – Michael Dervan, The Irish Times
“A work of singular genius…This brilliant suite of songs practices its own witchcraft, seducing you straightaway with its beauty.” – ArtMuseLondon
“Absolutely extraordinary… One of the Best Albums I’ve Heard This Year. Musically the gang are firing on all cylinders; thematically it’s fascinating; and historically it is horrifying and illuminating in equal measure… Wonderful music, fascinatingly presented” – Bernard Clarke, RTÉ Lyric fm ‘In the Blue of the Night Show’
Backstory to The Island of Saints
Fourteenth century Ireland was a time of invasions, war, lawlessness, famine and plague. In 1317 Richard de Ledrede – an English Franciscan of the Order of Friars Minor – arrived in Kilkenny, appointed by Pope John XXII in Avignon as the new Bishop of Ossory and immediately set about challenging the secular authorities and making a name for himself as a zealous moraliser and “scourge of heresy”.
In 1324 Ledrede declared that his diocese was a hotbed of devil worshippers. The central figure in this affair was Dame Alice Kyteler, a wealthy Kilkenny woman. Ledrede accused Kyteler together with members of her family and friends, of a variety of supernatural crimes. The bishop claimed that she was the leader of a group of heretics and witches who sacrificed to the Devil and performed revolting magical rites. Alice herself was said to have a familiar – a demon with whom she regularly had sexual intercourse. She was also accused of poisoning and murdering her four husbands.
With the help of influential relatives Alice escaped to England and vanished from history. Her servant, Petronilla de Meath, was tried, tortured and burned at the stake.
The Kyteler trial was the first witchcraft trial in European history to treat the accused as members of an organised sect of heretics, and the first to accuse a woman of having acquired the power of sorcery through sexual intercourse with a demon. It is also the first occasion in history that a woman was burnt for heresy charges deriving from witchcraft and occult practices.
The Red Book of Ossory
The Red Book of Ossory is an important 14th century medieval manuscript which was compiled in Kilkenny and is housed there in St Canice’s Cathedral. Pre-eminent among the manuscript’s texts are sixty remarkable Latin verses by Bishop Richard de Ledrede. The bishop instructed that these lyrics be sung by the priests, clerks and choristers of St Canice’s “on the important holidays and at celebrations in order that their throats and mouths, consecrated to God, may not be polluted by songs which are lewd, secular, and associated with revelry, and, since they are trained singers, let them provide themselves with suitable tunes according to what these sets of words require”. Accordingly, Anakronos’ founder Caitríona O’Leary has drawn from various medieval music sources (Chansonnier du Roi, Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, Codices Chantilly, Modena, Squarcialupi etc.), made speculative reconstructions of many of the bishop’s hymns, and with the members of Anakronos deconstructed those songs with learned disregard for proper chronology.
“This is the second volume of Caitríona O’Leary’s The Wexford Carols; it comes, perhaps, under the heading “folk/Classical”. Expertly produced by Ethan Johns and beautifully recorded by Dom Monks (who is also co-producer), and packaged beautifully, this is in many ways the perfect Christmas listening.
The focus of Strange Wonders is on the rich (yet rarely fully acknowledged) tradition of Irish Christmas music. O’Leary herself gives a brilliant introduction here:”
Strange Wonders, The Wexford Carols Vol. II, is the highly anticipated follow up to the hugely successful album The Wexford Carols. It features another 11 carols from the tradition that focus on the spiritual and mystical aspects of the Christmas story – Gabriel’s visitation to Mary, the humble stable, the meeting of Herod and the Magi, the Fall (of Lucifer and of Adam), the Mystery of God as Man – as well as less familiar aspects of this narrative including carols to the saints whose feast days fall within the 12 days of Christmas (24th December – 6th January). These includes carols for St. Stephen, St. John, St. Sylvester and the Holy Innocents.
For Strange Wonders, The Wexford Carols Vol. II singer/arranger Caitríona O’Leary and producer Ethan Johns have adopted an intimate interpretation of these remarkable and moving carols that marries early music, folk music and classical styles, bringing together an ensemble of luminaries that include Seth Lakeman (voice, viola), Clara Sanabras (voice, baroque guitar), John Smith (voice, guitar), Stile Antico (Choir), Alison Balsom (trumpet), Olov Johannson (nyckelharapa), Simone Collavechi (lute & renaissance guitar), Deirdre O’Leary (bass clarinet), Mel Mercier (percussion), and John Hearne (bassoon).
Strange Wonders, The Wexford Carols Vol. II will be available from November 12th on CD in record shops internationally, on the Heresy website and through most online outlets. The album will be available digitally on multiple platforms including, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, Qobuz, YouTube, etc.
Norman Lebrecht of Slipped Disc and Robert Hugill of Planet Hugill have featured Eric Fraad‘s new short film Love’s Fever on their websites.
“A compelling piece of singer-acting, treat yourself.”
Norman Lebrecht – Slipped Disc
Robert Hugill – Planet Hugill
Based on the song Deh Lassa La Mia Vita from the end of day 7 of Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron.
Music by Lorenzo da Firenze. Featuring Caitríona O’Leary, Edited by Martin Mai, Art Direction by Gareth Jones, Filmed by Tara Slye, Recorded and Mixed by Caitríona O’Leary and Mastered by James Darkin.
Funded by an Arts Council Covid-19 Crisis Response Award.