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Brian Irvine's large work performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra was written and dedicated to Paul Dunmall and inspired by the film work of David Lynch, a 4-part musical landscape using 3 groups of players, 2 conductors and Dunmall himself.

Irvine Ensemble, Brian With Paul Dunmall / BBC Concert Orchestra
Montana Strange: The Music Of Brian Irvine

Irvine Ensemble, Brian With Paul Dunmall / BBC Concert Orchestra: Montana Strange: The Music Of Bria (FMR)
Label: FMR    
Released in: Great Britain    

"About 20 or more years ago I went along to a gig that my good friend Brian Carson had organised in Belfast. It was a small attic space in a tiny arts centre called the Old Museum. There was about 30 people there. The band was Paul Rogers (bass), Tony Levin (drums) and Paul Dunmall (saxophone and pipes). The music was incredible. I was completely drawn in to the magic and connection between these three special musicians. Some time later I plucked up the courage to give Paul a call and invite him over to Northern Ireland to play with my own ensemble. Without hesitation he was there and so began some years of a fantastic partnership in which Paul weaved his way freely around my fully written ensemble music. In those early days we used an ingenious light system that Paul's dad made: where a light was attached to a stand which stood beside Paul as he played and was controlled by a foot switch that I operated as I conducted the ensemble: light on - play, light off - stop!. Eventually the light system was no longer required, just a look was enough and eventually: nothing.

At this time I was also involved in creating a lot of orchestral works and we had talked on many occasions about the possibility of combining the extremes of Paul's free improvisation with the detailed rigid compositional world of contemporary orchestral music. The opportunity to came along in the form of the brilliant forward thinking BBC Jazz on 3 and I got to work on what was to be Montana Strange.

When we premiered the piece in Belfast I remember standing on the stage with the entire BBC Concert Orchestra, Robert Zeigler (conductor), my ensemble and Paul and just before it all kicks off Paul leans over to me and says "so where do you want me to play?".. I thought for a moment, before responding: "Anywhere you like big man" .. and then we were off!

As Paul weaved his magic in an around the orchestral landscape I recall one particular moment in the third movement where a period of uninterrupted orchestral sound was severed in half by what could only be described as some sort of sustained guttural, screaming, lustful, wailing from Paul's tenor saxophone: a sound so possessed that the entire horn section of the orchestra immediately turned their heads and looked at Paul in utter disbelief.

Montana Strange for Paul and myself was always about combining two extremes without regard or compromise. Paul's unique musicianship means he has a super natural ability to combine and create a dialogue, an interconnectivity with all sound no matter its origin and in turn create something unique and profoundly beautiful because of that relationship. Its an exciting piece to do, always mutating and surprising and always, always, full to the brim with a deep love and sensation of sound and humanity."-Brian Irvine

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
FMR Records

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Price: $15.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 2.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 649849982414

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: FMR 315
Squidco Product Code: 15439

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Tracks 1-3 recorded by BBC Radio 3. Track 4 recorded at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on January 16th, 2007.


Brian Irvine-conductor

Robert Zeigler-conductor

Paul Dunmall-soprano saxophone

Brian Irvine Ensemble:

John Fitzpatrick-violin

Scott Heron-cello

Lewis Smith-saxophones, clarinets

Richard Mawhinney-saxophones, clarinets

Philip Lavery-saxophones, clarinets

Alasdair Wallace-trumpet

Aidan Hughes-trombone

Michael Keeney-accordion, keyboards

Phil Smyth-electric bass

Andrew Laver-percussion, computers

Bill Campbell-electric guitar

Steve Noble-turntables

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Track Listing:

1. Dick Laurent is dead / Candy coloured clown 15:08

2. A dream of dark and troubled things 4:41

3. Just cut 'em up like regular chickens 11:31

4. Drowning in the sea of your dreams 5:18