In a shitty, sovereignty-losing year, here are 10 things that were sublime in 2010
Charlie Lloyd is now 72, and still touring, with a rhythm section of Eric Harland on drums, Reuben Rogers on bass and the incredible Jason Moran on piano. Their CD, “Mirror” is a sublime series of melodic jazz workouts, none more so that the funkiest version ever of the old classic “The water is wide”, when the band catch the soul of the tune and Lloyd's sax just gets lost in the melody. Beautiful.
Gooseberry tart with gooseberry and elderflower ice cream
Christina McCauley, chef at Sligo's Coopershill House, cooked this pudding for her guests earlier in the year and, whilst there were many sublime moments in our researches for the 2011 Bridgestone 100 Best Guides, this was one that stood out for its verve, its soufulness, its simplicity. Country house cooking used to be good stuff, but the dinner made by Ms McCauley was great stuff, especially this sublime pudding.
Thirteen years after Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble took everyone by surprise with their hit record, “Officium”, they came back for sublime seconds in the form of “Officium Novum” (there was another disc or two in the middle of course, “Mnemosyne”). It is a thing of limpid, translucent beauty, just sounds and echoes and timelessness and five guys who know how to draw the magic from the ether.
The Hare with Amber Eyes
Edmund De Waal is a potter and ceramicist of international repute, so he has no right to also be a writer of astonishing skill. But the story of the collection of Japanese netuske gifted to him, and how the collection traveled through the generations of his family, from Japan through Europe, then back to Japan and then on to him, is one of the most poetically, lucidly rendered stories of recent times. Heart-breaking, too, but art and aesthetic survive what ever mankind throws at them.
The world's greatest female pop star released the “Body Talk” trilogy of albums, and out of many stand-out songs, the timeless “Dancing on my Own” was the one that stood out as purest pop gold. The number of remixes already set up by djs and mixmasters is tribute to a sublime piece of rhythm, melody and storyline, and no vocalist can match Robyn for wit, experience and drollness. And she was simply wow! at Electric Picnic.
Noma: Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine
René Redzepi's cookery book is food as art. But the art isn't contrived in any way. Instead it is hard-fought, hard-won, hard-wrought, and offered with modesty and respect. You can try to put labels on this sort of work, but the only label that fits is: sublime
He steered the Charles Lloyd quartet; he guested brilliantly with Paul Motian and with Rudresh Mahanthappa on their cds, and in between recording his own trio cd, “Ten”, with The Bandwagon, Jason Moran also bagged a MacArthur fellowship, which is half a million dollars of dosh. Quite a year, then, for a jazz pianist who is the closest we have to the immortal Thelonious Monk. Moran makes every tune his own, from spirituals to Conlon Nancarrow studies for player piano. Amazing.
Triúr sa Draighean
Peadar ó Riada doesn't make music the way others do, and his music isn't like anyone else's. If he were contrived, it would be a mess, but his urge for contemplative simplicity, his search for a commonplace, means everything he does embraces the sublime. This new collection of tunes, with Martin Hayes and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh on fiddles, burns slowly, as Ó Riada brings you into not just his soundworld, but his unique timeworld.
The world doesn't need more recordings of JS Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin, but when you can make the pieces seem so dramatically new, so contemporary, as Isabelle Faust did with her cd of the last three partitas and sonata, then there is every reason to have a new recording. Ms Faust is a musician who is currently on top of her musical world, but her playing isn't imperious or self-concious: she simply has things to say.
Martin's Mad About Fish
Martin Shanahan shouldn't really be on the telly. He's too old. His accent is too regional. He doesn't have a “saleable” personality. He doesn't tick any of the boxes needed for telly fame. And yet his fish cookery programmes, “Martin's Mad About Fish”, made by RTE Cork, were just glorious, a reminder that telly works when it gets beyond the shallows of demographics and just records someone who knows what he is doing and is wise and passionate about it. Director Rory Cobbe and his crew brought the ship home serenely, and sublimely.