The new recording ‘Transcendence’ by Ilse de Ziah features rich and dark cello performances of music inspired by religious and spiritual traditions of old Ireland. From the stark, intensely sad ‘Caoine for a Dead Child’ and the entrancing, meditative ‘Fair Churchyard of Creggan’, to the joy of ‘Queen of the May’, the music ranges from deeply introspective to sublimely uplifting.
I first met Irish-Australian cellist and composer Ilse de Ziah when we used to perform together at wedding ceremonies. Ilse’s recordings are hauntingly beautiful, the emotion in her music is tangible which shows that she plays from her heart. She is a true technician on the cello, a natural performer, but it is evident that, for Ilse, it is the music, its meaning and what it conveys to the audience that matter. I loved listening to ‘Transcendence’, a heavenly, ethereal, other-worldly soundtrack, to sooth the soul, especially in these uncertain times.
Ilse has a deep passion for composing, arranging and performing music for the cello. She uses traditional Irish melodies as source material, and creates contemporary arrangements perfectly suited for the cello, by marrying classical detail and folkloric tradition, which makes for a transcendent musical experience.
“When I first heard the recording from 1951 of singer Kitty Gallagher, I felt the deep connection of music with mourning. She sang ‘Caoineadh do Leanbh Marbh’ (Keen for a Dead Child) in a hotel room in Letterkenny on a bitter hard afternoon during a blizzard. I knew I had to find a way to express the ‘caoine’ or keen on the cello.
“I researched into this style of music and discovered a story of the banning and subsequent loss of the tradition, and the heartbreak of letting loved ones go without this powerful expression of grief.
“The keens are improvisations based on musical themes, and to bring this to the cello, I needed to take my time to live with the music, grieve with it, play it at funerals, play on a bleak hill, visit the old overgrown cemeteries, visit abandoned houses, listen to the stories of an older generation and form a rich sacred cello vernacular.
“Through research and performances for funerals and weddings over the past 20 years I also collected hymns and devotional songs, and the vision poem or Aisling. I compiled a collection of deeply emotional music that has never been arranged for the cello, and with the help of a Cork County Council grant, I have spent the past 6 months of lockdown and loss, composing and recording these intense pieces,” said Ilse.
Well respected for her interpretation of slow Irish Airs, Ilse already has a CD and published book, ‘Irish Airs for Solo Cello’. Her award winning film ‘Living the Tradition’, a journey into old Irish airs reflects the passion she has for the music and it won best documentary in the Eirie International Film Festival.
Ilse regularly tours her solo cello performance around Europe and has a large following on her solo cello YouTube channel. In Summer 2018 she featured as soloist in the largest Gamelan Festival in the world, in Java with the Irish Gamelan Orchestra.
She is also member of the Quiet Music Ensemble and performs and records with many trad, rock, pop, jazz and world musicians.
Her next music documentary is in pre-production, and she has recently published her fourth book of solo cello music, Sacred Irish Music for Solo Cello. An accomplished cellist with inspiring depth and vivacity. All sheet music is available at PlayCelloMusic.com in the publication Sacred Irish Music for Solo Cello – Music from Ancient to Modern Irish Traditions by Ilse de Ziah
The 11 pieces that comprise Transcendence, Irish Sacred Music for Solo Cello, will be released on digital platforms on September 18 2020.
“The recordings are inspired by the need for a time of grieving after so much has been lost, and for a need of authentic, sensitive and powerful music to uplift our spirits and help carry us with vigour and hope into the future. The cello is the perfect conduit for such music,” added Ilse.
For more information on Ilse and her recordings see:
Bandcamp: https://ilsedeziah.bandcamp.com Youtube channel: http://youtube.com/ilsedeziah Previous Recording: Irish Airs for Solo Cello CD http://ilsedeziah.com/bio/press-pack-and-links/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/ilsedeziah Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ideziah Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ilsedeziah/ CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org