It’s a fearless composer who takes on explicit comparison with a major masterwork of the past. There’s the case of Brahms, who worried about the shadow of Beethoven when he came to write his own First Symphony. There’s a swathe of composers who seem to fret at the burden of history when they write their first string quartet.
And then there are the brave ones, such as Frederic Rzewski, who took on a commission to write a companion piece to Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, and in 1975 produced The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a set of 36 variations on the Chilean protest song ¡El Pueblo Unido Jameas Será Vencido!.
In 2005, Russian composer Alexander Raskatov wrote a successor to the string quartet version of the sequence of seven slow movements which make up Haydn’s Seven Last Words. In Ireland, this work has taken on an extraordinary life since Francis Humphrys programmed it at the first West Cork Chamber Music Festival in 1996, when the Parisii Quartet’s performance also featured readings by the late Michael Hartnett from his Mountains fall on us.
Raskatov’s Monk’s Music uses texts by St Silouan the Athonite, setting them for solo bass voice, and following them with meditations for string quartet, only joining voice and instruments briefly at the very end. The music is written in a style that’s easy to describe but hard to pin down. It’s a style that effectively eschews style, or, rather, that feels free to draw on any and every style.
The ambition to rove freely through musical history is one that many composers seem ready to indulge in. Composers of film music do it all the time, and the adoption of old musical clothes has resulted in a wide range of pieces that audiences still love, from Grieg’s Holberg Suite, to Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, to Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite (which is getting performances from the Irish Chamber Orchestra this month, in Limerick and Dublin, on Thursday 21st and Saturday 23rd).
Grieg, Stravinsky and Shchedrin give the impression of having a foot in two worlds, the world of their chosen past and the world of their actual present. Raskatov’s work is more like the music of an imagined future, where disparate elements and gestures from musical history have become blended into a new lingua franca. He emulates the meditative, time-stilling quality of Haydn’s music by going back to basics, to a world in which a simple pulsation, a flutter, a slide, a shift from consonance to dissonance, or even a silence can become an all-consuming event.
Monk’s Music was written for Valentin Berlinsky, founding cellist of the great Borodin Quartet (who sadly didn’t live to play it). The music waited eight years before its mesmerising premiere last Friday at St Nicholas Church of Ireland in Dundalk, by Gordon Jones and the Carducci Quartet.
Louth Contemporary Music Society, who promoted the concert, are also recording it for release on CD.
Louth Contemporary Music Society in association with Temple Bar Trad Festival and Cois Cladaigh present a new arrangement of Seán Ó Riada’s Mass by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky performed by the EQ Singers with Zoe Conway on fiddle, Siobhan Armstrong on harp and Robbie Harris on bodhrán, conducted by Eamonn Dougan in St.Werburgh’s Dublin on Thursday 24 January 2013 and St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church Galway, on Friday 25 January 2013. Iarla Ó Lionáird will appear as a special guest for the Dublin performance.
The music of composer Seán Ó Riada, who is credited with re-igniting the popularity of Irish traditional music, is celebrated by Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS) in these unique performances of a new arrangement of his Mass in January 2013.
The new arrangement was completed by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, a composer of international fame. A native of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, he most recently has been a composer-in-residence at Harvard University and Dartmouth College. Yanov-Yanovsky has received commissions from celebrated musicians including the renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet and Hilliard Ensemble. Yanov-Yanovsky’s music was first performed in Ireland at LCMS’s Sounds of the Silk Road Concert at Drogheda Arts Festival in 2011. Yanov-Yanovsky has arranged the mass for 16 voices, fiddle, harp and bodhrán.
The mass will be performed by the finest Irish professional singers in the newly formed EQ Singers, with Zoe Conway on fiddle, Siobhan Armstrong on harp and Robbie Harris on bodhrán. The choir and players will be conducted by Eamonn Dougan Associate Conductor of internationally renowned ensemble The Sixteen.
The performances will take place in St.Werburgh’s Dublin at 8pm on Thursday 24 January 2013 and St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church Galway, at 8pm on Friday 25 January 2013 . Iarla Ó Lionáird will appear as a special guest for the Dublin performance.
The Ó Riada Mass has been funded by the Arts Council’s Traditional Arts Touring Programme scheme and is financially supported by Foras na Gaeilge.
Further Information & listings see below or log onto: www.louthcms.org
St. Werburgh’s, Werburgh St, Dublin 2
Thursday 24 January 2013 | 8.00pm | €15(including booking fee)
Tickets – 01 7030709 | www.templebartrad.com
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway
Friday 25 January 2013 | 8.00pm | €15 & €12 Concession
Tickets: 091 756812 | www.coiscladaigh.net
Louth Contemporary Music Society is financially supported by the Arts Council and Create Louth
Drogheda Borough Council has commissioned a new musical composition to be premiered during celebrations later this year to mark the 600th anniversary of the town’s Charter.
Using funding from the ‘Per Cent for Art’ scheme that applies to one per cent of the budget for all public sector capital projects, the Council has commissioned Belfast-born Brian Irvine, Associate Composer with the Ulster Orchestra and Visiting Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Ulster.
The musical composition will be funded with €30,000 allocated for spending on art as part of the investment in new social housing at Boice Court, Mell.
The work created by Mr Irvine will have its premiere in November when the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra join local musicians to perform in Drogheda as part of the celebrations marking 600 years since the town was unified on both sides of the Boyne in 1412.
Joan Martin, Drogheda Town Clerk and Director of Services, Louth Local Authorities, said: “People will be familiar with sculptures and other public art installations commissioned at roadside and other locations in Louth and across the country under the ‘per cent for art’ scheme since 1988. On this occasion, the decision has been taken to go with a different art form and commission one of Ireland’s leading contemporary composers to create a Drogheda piece of music.
“The process of developing this music will give local musicians and choirs a great chance to work with Brian Irvine in helping to shape the sound of Drogheda for this and future generations.
“There was a competitive process to select the composer who’d lead this work with Mark Duley, organist and director of music at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin and former Drogheda Arts Officer Rosemary Collier who is now director and CEO, Kilkenny Arts Festival, engaged in that regard. Both Mark and Rosemary have extensive knowledge and expertise to draw on and we’re delighted that in Brian Irvine, they have selected the very best.”
Brian Harten, County Arts Officer, Louth Local Authorities, added: “To have a composer of the calibre of Brian Irvine working on a piece for Drogheda is really exciting, and it will benefit the many groups and individuals from the area who will work alongside him. Brian has already been in contact with Drogheda’s two brass bands about performing the piece, and will be putting together a specially-formed 400-person massed choir from Drogheda for the premiere with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.”
Ends – May 31, 2012.
Media queries: Brian Nolan, 0868191730.
Background – Brian Irvine
Irvine is regarded as one of the most exciting composers working in Western Europe today. Born in Belfast, his huge body of work reflects an obsessive love of music creation in all its forms. It includes operas, orchestral works, large-scale community oratorios, film and dance scores as well as numerous ensemble, solo and chamber pieces.
His music has been performed all over the world and commissioned by many international artists and organisations including: Welsh National Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Wexford Festival Opera, Northern Sinfonia, BBC Radio 3, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Scottish Ballet, Opera Theatre Company, Bath International Music Festival, Glasgow International Music Festival, Lyric Youth Opera, Music Network, London 2012 Olympics Festival, Roald Dahl Foundation, 4-mality percussion ensemble, Belfast Festival at Queens, Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Live Music Now, Sonorities Festival of New Music and Homecoming Music Festival (Moscow).
Together with his own 12 -piece ensemble (BBC Radio 3 music award winners) he has toured extensively throughout USA, Russia, France, Portugal, Germany, Scotland, Malta, Cyrus, Poland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands and has appeared at some of the world’s leading international music festivals/venues including several appearances at the Bath International Music Festival (UK); Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank, London; Gulbenkian Institute (Portugal); Washington National Library of Congress (USA); Ouest Nord Ouest Festival (France); Glasgow International Festival (UK); Ko?ció? ?w. Jana, Gda?sk (Poland); Festival d’été de Valence (France); Novgorod Municipal Theatre (Russia); Festival Sous les Pommiers (France); Homecoming Festival (Russia); Dublin Festival (Ireland); Moving on Music Festival (UK); Sonorities Festival of New Music (UK) and The International House of Music (Moscow, Russia).
Brian has also collaborated with and written for some of the world’s most internationally established artists across many different genres including Seamus Heaney (poet), 4-mality percussion ensemble, Joanna MacGregor (piano), Billy Jenkins (guitar), Keith Tippet (piano), Paul Dunmall (saxophone/reeds), Roman Mints (violin), Matthew Bourne (piano), David Holmes, Snow Patrol, Duke Special, Keiji Haino (guitar), Joe Morris (guitar), LAU (BBC Folk award winners) as well as film makers, sculptors and animators including Eduard Bersudsky, Jari Neimenin, Joel Simon, John McCluskey and John McIlduff.
He has won a number of awards for his work including a British Composers Award for Opera, BBC Radio 3 Jazz award for best new work, Major Individual Artist Award (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), First Trust/University of Ulster Distinquished Graduate Award, the MCPS Joyce Dixey Award for Composition and the Bass Ireland Award. Recently his opera Shelter Me from the Rain won the 2011 Allianz Arts and Business Award for best use of creativity in the community and his large scale children’s oratorio Rain Falling Up was shortlisted for a 2011 British Composers Awards. The junk opera Postcards from Dumbworld was also shortlisted for a 2011 Irish Times Theatre Award.
Last year, together with writer/director John McIlduff, he was awarded the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Artist Taking the Lead award for the enormous sonic installation Nest. Brian also recently completed the score to John McIlduff’s debut feature film Behold the Lamb as well as the short film opera: To Do List. His recent orchestral works have included:Strange Attractors (40’) for orchestra and LAU commissioned by the Sage Gateshaed/ PRS foundation; My cow’s not pretty, but it’s pretty to me – recorded for BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now performed by the Ulster Orchestra and Praise aloud the trees for double orchestra and choir, a collaboration with Nobel laureate poet Seamus Heaney commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and premiered by the Ulster Orchestra/RTE Concert Orchestras and Horizon voices in Belfast 4 March 2012
He is currently working on Nest (60’): a multi media installation for symphony orchestra, chorus, sonic processing, 5000 objects and film (commissioned by London 2012 Festival); an opera with writer Owen McCafferty (commissioned by Northern Ireland Opera) and a violin concerto for violinist Darragh Morgan (commissioned by the RTE National Symphony Orchestra).
The ConTempo Quartet will perform a concert of works by Irish composers from the Louth and Meath area, as well as works by Jane O’ Leary and George Crumb, on Tuesday, June 5th at 7:30pm in the Kevin Barry Room at the National Concert Hall, Dublin. The concert will feature premieres of new works by David Ernest McCarthy, Breifne Holohan, Patrick Connolly and Michael Holohan. Also featured will be Jane O’ Leary’s commissioned work for the ConTempo Quartet, ConTempo Conversations, and George Crumb’s groundbreaking quartet, Black Angels.
Black Angels is a mainstay in the repetoire of the Contempo Quartet and they have performed the work on television in their native Romania. Also known as ‘Thirteen Images from the Dark Land’, it is Crumb’s personal response to the horrors of the Vietnam war. Jane O’ Leary is the founder of the renowned contemporary Irish music ensemble Concorde and, like the ConTempo Quartet, resides in Galway.
Patrick Connolly and Breifne Holohan studied music at DKIT (Dundalk) and are members of the Irish Composers Collective. Patrick Connolly was awarded the Seán O’ Riada Memorial Trophy at the Cork International Choral Festival in 2011. Breifne Holohan was awarded the Bill Whelan Bursary for Young Composers in 2004. David Ernest McCarthy is a graduate of TCD and has had compositions performed both at home and abroad. Michael Holohan has composed a large number of works for different media and is a member of Aosdána. David, Patrick, Breifne and Michael all reside in the Louth/Meath area and hope to stage further collaborations in the near future.
Where: Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall
When: Tuesday, June 5th at 7:30pm
Price: 12 euro, 10 euro concession
Jane O’ Leary ConTempo Conversations
Patrick Connolly Glistening, Moving*
Michael Holohan String Quartet*
Breifne Holohan Vela – Sails in the Stars*
David Ernest McCarthy String Quartet*
George Crumb Black Angels
* World premiere
Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office on 01 4170000 or on the website www.nch.ie
Louth Contemporary Music Society in association with Drogheda Arts Festival presents Arabian Waltz with Rabih Abou Khalil , the EQ Ensemble and Elisaveta Blumina in St.Peter’s Church of Ireland Drogheda 4 May 2012 at 8pm.
The shrewd, witty and inventive Abou Khalil – a world musician years before the phrase became a label -makes the hot, staccato Middle Eastern flavour and the seamless grooves of jazz mingle as if they were always meant to. John Fordham The Guardian
For nearly a quarter century, Lebanese-born oud master and composer Rabih Abou-Khalil has defied all of the artificial boundaries to create a musical world entirely his own. With his first Irish commission for Louth Contemporary Music Society, Rabih once again proves to be a truly visionary artist.
The concert will feature a magical programme of music ranging from Elisaveta Blumina performing piano works by Fazil Say and Alan Hovhaness to The EQ Ensemble performing John Surman’s Mimosa and Leylek Geldi for string quartet and bass. Rabih will perform solo on the oud and then will be joined by the EQ Ensemble for the world premiere of a new commission for string quartet, bass and oud. The new commission, funded by the Arts Council, will receive its world premiere on 4 May 2012 as part of the Drogheda Arts Festival.
Born and raised in the cosmopolitan climate of Beirut in the sixties and seventies, Rabih Abou-Khalil leaned to play the oud at the age of four. In the Arab world, this instrument is as popular as the guitar or the piano in the West and is the composer’s instrument par excellence. An oud is a form of lute or mandolin played principally in Arab countries. The Lebanese civil war forced him to leave his country in 1978 to study classical flute in the German city of Munich, where he was tutored at the Munich Academy of Music by Walther Theurer.
Tickets for the concert cost €10 and are available from www.ctb.ie ( 0818 205 205)or the festival box office 041 983 3946 or at www.droghedaartsfestival.ie. LCMS will hold a wine reception at the interval for all ticket holders.
Rabih Abou Khalil’s first Irish commission was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.The Arabian Waltz concert is funded by Create Louth and the Arts Council of Ireland. Louth Contemporary Music Society is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland
The Drogheda Arts Festival, the first festival of the summer, will run from 3rd – 7th May with new theatre, music, family events, visual arts and lots more.
Aisling Manning (violin),Julie-Anne Manning (cello)Deirdre Brenner (piano)
Tuesday 1st May at 8pm.
Beethoven Violin Sonata No.8, Op.30 No.3
Schubert Sonata in A minor ‘Arpeggione’, D821
Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello
Frank Martin Piano Trio on Popular Irish Folk Tunes
For tickets (€20, students €5, Supper before the concert €20) email email@example.com or ring 042 9371490
Louth Contemporary Music Society presents Metamorphoses
“Louth Contemporary Music Society is one of the most adventurous music promoters in Ireland.” Michael Dervan, The Irish Times
Formed in 2006, Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS) has an impeccable record for excellence and innovation in contemporary music programming in Ireland. The company not only presents the leading international composers of our time, but fosters genuine engagement through new commissions and cleverly-curated collaborations with leading international and Irish performers. This is continued in Metamorphoses, LCMS’s second concert in the ‘Sounds of the Silk Road” series and will take place at 8pm on Saturday 22 October 2011 in St.Peter’s Church of Ireland Drogheda.
Metamorphoses will feature new specially commissioned work by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, a highly talented and well regarded composer from Tashkent, Uzbekistan a country at the crossroads of the rich and oriental and Islamic traditions of Central Asia. The piece Viderunt Omnes is a piece for 8 celli and percussion based on Perotin’s Viderunt Omnes. LCMS organised the first performance and commission of Yanov-Yanovksy in Ireland in 2011.
The concert will also feature two of Sofia Gubaidulina’s works: On the Edge of the Abyss for 7 celli and 2 waterphones and Mirage: The Dancing Sun. The term ‘abyss’, stands here for the zone between the fingerboard and the bridge of a string instrument. Ms Gubaidulina was born in Chistopol in the Tatar Republic in 1931, attended a performance of her music in Drogheda in 2010 organised by LCMS.
Composer Alexander Knaifel whose music featured in a LCMS portrait concert in Drogheda in 2009. In this concert his work The Comforter written for nine cellos is a gorgeous work based on an orthodox liturgical prayer. Knaifel, originally a cellist (but had to give up the instrument due to a nerve inflammation) was born in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1943 and naturally turned to composition.
Also in the concert Franghiz Ali- Zadeh will perform her Music for Piano. Raymond Tuttle notes in a review “At the recording sessions, she “prepared” the piano by placing a beaded necklace she had been wearing across the piano strings. The result is straight piano music accompanied by a fantastic rattling highly reminiscent of another indigenous Azerbaijani instrument, the tar”.
Ivan Monighetti will join Franghiz for a performance of her work Habil sayaghi (Habil’s Style) for cello and piano a work dedicated to Ivan Monighetti. Habil sayaghi for cello and prepared piano (1979) was a breakthrough work for the composer as she incorporated elements of of the Azerbaijani virtuosic improvisatory style called mugham in the work.
The concert will end with a performance of Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s Shyshtar Metamorphoses which was originally written for the 12 cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic.
As members of the Aga Khan Music Trust will attend the performance, there will be a free wine reception at the interval for all the audience.
Metamorphoses also features the first poster design by Reza Abedini, a world renowned Iranian designer and a professor of graphic design and visual culture at Tehran University. www.rezaabedini.com
Metamorphoses is presented by Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS). Funded by a private Swiss foundation, and financially supported by the Arts Council and Create Louth, the concert is dedicated to Sofia Gubaidulina who celebrates her 80th birthday on 24 October 2011.
Alexander Knaifel The Comforter for 9 celli
Perotin Viderunt Omnes arranged for 8 celli by Dmitri Yanov Yanovsky (WP)
Sofia Gubaidulina On the Edge of the Abyss for 7 celli and 2 waterphones
Sofia Gubaidulina Mirage The Dancing Sun for 8 celli
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh Music for piano
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh Habil sayaghi (Habil’s Style)
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh Shyshtar Metamorphoses for 8 celli
Further Information & listings see below or log onto :: www.louthcms.org
St Peter’s Church of Ireland, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Runs Saturday October 22 | 8.00pm | €15
Tickets – 0818 205 205 | www.centralticketbureau.com