The Chamber Works of Jane O'Leary




Sound and space are two elements that emerge at the heart of Jane O’Leary’s THE PASSING SOUND OF FOREVER. The collection showcases O’Leary’s compositional gifts through a variety of her chamber compositions. O’Leary’s string writing soars in THE PASSING SOUND OF FOREVER, and demonstrates her remarkable sensitivity to the instruments’ sonic palette and expressive potential. Every color, from ethereal natural harmonics to frenetic bowing, is at O’Leary’s disposal, and is exploited beautifully to produce evocative and compelling soundscapes.


O’Leary is imaginative and creative in her string writing, resonating the instruments’ strings in a wide variety of ways. Harmonics and arpeggiations create vast open spaces.  In the case of A Winter Sketchbook, violin sounds are integrated with those of the alto flute, matching colors and creating new blends of sound. A Winter Sketchbook resonates profoundly as it casts the indelible image of deep winter.


THE PASSING SOUND OF FOREVER’s title track is composed for string quartet, which makes it a shining and exemplary representation of O’Leary’s expressive string writing. The Passing Sound of Forever, originating from a motif found in a Beethoven quartet, plays with fragmentary gestures which emerge and disappear, echo and reflect. The work is filled with a deep yearning, which is communicated by the accumulated gestures and sounds of the quartet’s four string instruments. The Passing Sound of Forever epitomizes O’Leary’s unique ability to evoke vivid emotions from the simplest aspects of string instruments’ sound.


Not every work on THE PASSING SOUND OF FOREVER features strings, but all seem to engage with the same themes of space and sound. O’Leary’s clarinet and piano duo Murmurs and Echoes, for example, creates the sense that its two instruments are communicating across great time and distance, most notably so in its last movement.  When their respective gestures mirror one another’s, they do so with the distortion of an echo crossing a vast space. In this way, Murmurs and Echoes reminds of A Winter Sketchbook, as both works use modest forces to generate a surprisingly resonant musical space.




The prevalent use of harmonics, careful positioning of the bow, and attention to subtle differences of color in the music, all help to create spaciousness.


O’Leary’s compositional style is gestural, and full of dialogue and echoes between the instruments.


In addition to composing, O’Leary is active in music performance, promotion and education, and established Ireland’s first contemporary music ensemble Concorde, who have been at the forefront of new music in Ireland for 40 years




A Way Through (Live Recording)

Recorded October 6, 2013 at Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane

in Dublin, Ireland


No. 19 (Live Recording)

Recorded November 11, 2012 at Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane

in Dublin, Ireland


murmurs and echoes

Recorded June 3, 2016 at The National Concert Hall

in Dublin, Ireland


A Winter Sketchbook (Live Recording)

Recorded April 18, 2015 at Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane

in Dublin, Ireland


...from hand to hand... (Live Recording)

Recorded April 1, 2012 at Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane

in Dublin, Ireland


the passing sound of forever...

Recorded July 16, 2016 at St. Mary’s College

in Galway, Ireland


Recording Engineer on all tracks Darby Carroll



Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Alex Bourne

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Mastering Lucas Paquette

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell

Graphic Design Ryan Harrison

Marketing Mike Mahn

Release Date: January 13, 2017

Catalog #: NV6068





01  A Way Through (2013)

Concorde  |  Madeleine Staunton alto flute

Paul Roe bass clarinet  Dermot Dunne accordion


02  No. 19 (2012)

Elaine Clark violin


murmurs and echoes (2015)

Paul Roe clarinet  David Bremner piano

03  I.  

04  II.

05  III.

06  IV. 

07  V.


A Winter Sketchbook (2015)

Concorde  |  Madeleine Staunton alto flute

Elaine Clark violin

08  I.

09  III.


10  ...from hand to hand... (2011)

Andreja Malir concert harp  Martin Johnson cello


the passing sound of forever... (2015)

ConTempo Quartet Bogdan Sofei violin I

Ingrid Nicola violin II  Andreea Banciu viola

Adrian Mantu cello

11  I.

12  II. 

13  III. 





Jane O'Leary













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