Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak
- CDR 90000 174
The longer Cedille Selects track excerpts are designed to provide a representative overview of the recording (not applicable to all albums)
Album Description Download Full CD Booklet
Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak is the newest album from multiple GRAMMY Award-winning chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird. The project finds the innovative new-music sextet collaborating with vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird of the Irish supergroup The Gloaming, Princeton-based composer-fiddler Dan Trueman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon. A modern retelling of an ancient Irish epic, Olagón depicts — not without irony and humor — a privileged “power couple” mired in envy, greed, and adultery, descending into criminality and addiction as Ireland’s “Celtic-Tiger” economy collapses in the early 21st century.
Trueman’s score combines elements of the traditional music of Ireland, Norway, and America with the raw urgency and sonorities of contemporary classical music. Muldoon’s text interweaves verses in English and Irish Gaelic, seasoned with word-play and wit.
Ó Lionáird, whom The Guardian calls “one of the most dramatic voices in contemporary music,” sings the text in the unique and highly ornamental Irish style known as sean nós. The production incorporates the gorgeous young voices of students of acclaimed Irish sean nós singer Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, who also makes an appearance.
Eighth Blackbird is “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune). Olagón is the new-music sextet’s ninth Cedille Records album. Four of their previous recordings won Grammy Awards in the Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance category.
Steven Ritter Audiophile Audition
". . . a riveting and thoroughly engaging experience."
Grego Applegate Edwards Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
"It is beautiful, this. It has true lyric memorability, an intriguing score of chamber instruments and some electronic enhancement . . . It is a work of rare provenance, tonal but modernly adventurous."
Joshua Kosman San Francisco Gate
An "invigorating and ambitious musical collaboration . . . The result is elusive, heady and utterly transfixing."