Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Rider – The Butterfly Review
Martin Hayes and Brooklyn Rider are releasing a new album via In a Circle Records titled, The Butterfly. The album contains twelve tracks, ten are traditional melodies and two tracks are original compositions. Recorded in 2016, the album celebrates a decade-long musical friendship between renowned Irish fiddler and New York’s omnivorous string quartet. In addition to featuring the premiere recording of “Maghera Mountain,” (written by Hayes as a teenager), The Butterfly sought to define a common ground through the inclusion of several of the most widely known tunes within the repertoire, such as “O’Neill’s March” and “The Butterfly.” The sound quality of the project is excellent, which allows the listener to enjoy the marvelous playing. Brooklyn Rider is a string quartet based in Brooklyn, New York City, whose members include violinists Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords and cellist Michael Nicolas.
“Maghera Mountain” begins the journey, with Hayes and Brooklyn Rider creating an even and beautiful sound. Brooklyn Rider’s ensemble playing is in-tune, relaxed and always sensitive to the melodic player. The middle section is a rich tapestry of layers that build back into the jig style first theme. Hayes tone is authentic and his phrasing and attack on the strings brings out the Irish musical tradition.
The Irish tradition is captured in its full glory on every track, but “Mulqueen’s” is a fun example of how both Hayes and Brooklyn Rider meld together to create a unified sound in the style. The melody and harmonies are phrased together with the supporting chords falling precisely in the right places to accent the melody’s movement. The ensemble brings this Irish Reel to life with an arrangement that is exciting and interesting.
Martin Hayes is one of the world’s leading artists in traditional Irish music and he continues to bring adventurous and moving interpretations of traditional tunes to life with exciting collaborations like this one with Brooklyn Rider. Here the sounds of the Irish melodies are beautifully combined with the delicate hues of the likes of Debussy to colorful modern classical harmonic sonorities. It captures the relationship of both Ireland and America in its sounds and influences of sonic pallet. The Butterfly is brilliant, and Hayes has to be applauded for his creative performances and open mindedness to hear the lovely combination that he creates with Brooklyn Rider.
Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Rider
August 9, 2019
IN A CIRCLE RECORDS