Improvisations from Glenstal Abbey with Cyprian Love OSB and Eoghan Neff.
In his poem "Lightenings (viii)', Seamus Heaney tells of how The Annals of Clonmacnoise have the fantastic tale of monks at prayer when 'a ship appeared above them in the air'. The ship's anchor gets caught in the altar rails and a crewman 'shinned and grappled down the rope' to release it. "This man can't bear our life here and will drown" /The Abbot said'. The man is helped, the anchor is freed and he climbs back
'out of the marvellous as he had known it. In this CD, Eoghan Neff - our fiddler - is the crewman, and Brother Cyprian Love - our organist - is the Abbot of Clonmacnoise.
In the famous Stephen Spielberg film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the spaceship that appears in the air towards the end of the movie responds to the Earthlings attempts at communication through the musical motif equivalent of H-E-L-L-O (re, mi, doh, doh lower octave, soh). In this CD, the church organ is the spaceship and the fiddle is the call of the earth.
Our first analogy is submarine, our second is supersonic. In both cases we are taken outside our own element in order to experience a miracle: 'a music you never would have thought to listen for' (Heaney in 'The Rain Stick'). The anarchic subversive musical conversation of this recording resonates with the primary acoustic of the sacred space of Glenstal Abbey known for its monastic hospitality towards the mystery of sound. That primary acoustic is the sound of the Word, and it allows us access to the music of what happens. All dogma is dismissed, and the Canon Laws of music are turned on their head, like upturned tables outside a temple. The result is of necessity fresh. We are dealing here with unprocessed primary source material. No two listeners will hear the same thing.
Brother Cyprian Love is not only an expert improviser in the tradition of the pipe organ (the only instrument in Western Classical tradition that has an unbroken lineage of improvisatory techniques attached to it. Eoghan Neff is an Irish traditional fiddler of enormous power and vision - a member of the Neff family of Cork city well known for its musical strain.