Ardee Baroque 16th – 18th November ‘12
Louth’s Baroque Music Festival Announces Programme
Ardee Baroque, Ireland’s only festival of orchestral Baroque music, will take place over the weekend of the 16th to the 18th of November, and will once again see the mid-Louth town become the focus for music of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
Announcing the line-up, Ardee Baroque Chairman, John Rountree, drew attention to the high quality of the music which will be heard over the weekend –“It’s going to be a fabulous three days of Handel, Bach and other composers, with concerts by the Irish Baroque Orchestra, soprano Deirdre Moynihan, baroque guitarist Eamon Sweeney, as well as other events. The sheer quality of the music will be exceptional.”
Ardee Baroque is now in its ninth year, and has established a reputation for exceptional music in atmospheric venues, in a welcoming and informal atmosphere. Begun in 2004 by County Arts Officer, Brian Harten, Ardee Baroque is now organised by a festival board with representatives from local businesses and the community. Indeed, the community aspect of the festival is very important, with performances in each of the schools by members of the Irish Baroque Orchestra in the run-up to the programmed concerts now firmly established. John Rountree elaborates –“In 2011, we worked with Ardee Concert band in hosting a concert by the Irish Baroque Orchestra especially for school children, in the Bohemian Centre. We had over 200 children coming together from four different schools to hear Baroque music. For me, that was one of the highlights. And it’s all part of making this music more accessible to everyone.”
The Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO) will perform two different concerts in St. Mary’s Church in the centre of Ardee, over the weekend. The focus of the two concerts will be the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the programmes will consist of various concerti, including the Brandenburg Concerto No.5. The IBO will be lead by Grammy-nominated Monica Huggett who, as well as being Artistic Director of IBO, is also Director of the Graduate Programme at the renowned Juilliard School in New York. In the run-up to the concerts, the members of the IBO make Ardee their home as they stay in the town, rehearse at Scoil Muire na Trócaire, and perform for schools and at day-care centres.
This year’s Ardee Baroque will also see the return of soprano Deirdre Moynihan who will perform Handel’s “Nine German Arias”. Deirdre previously performed at Collon Church of Ireland during Ardee Baroque 2010, and the response was so positive that she has been invited back with a new concert programme entitled “Hidden Handel”. Appearing with her will be three of Ireland’s foremost Early Music artists who will perform a selection of instrumental works by Telemann and Scarlatti – Laoise O’Brien on recorder, David Adams on harpsichord and Sarah Groser on viol. Handel’s “Nine German Arias” are a rare opportunity to hear the composer setting a text in his native language, and given Deirdre Moynihan’s reputation as one of Ireland’s most expressive sopranos, this concert on the Saturday evening of the festival is all set to be a memorable one.
Baroque guitarist, Eamon Sweeney, is making his Ardee Baroque debut, with a recital in the Court Room of Ardee Castle. Eamon has established himself as one of the country’s most talented guitarists, and was the recipient of the first Musicology PhD to be awarded by the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama for his research into the guitar’s role in the court of Louis XIV. Eamon teaches and performs extensively, giving concerts, lectures, seminars and workshops, including for Walton’s Guitar Festival of Ireland, Dundee Guitar Festival, Bath International Guitar Festival, Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, and DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. He has been frequently broadcast in concert on RTÉ Lyric fm. His recital as part of Ardee Baroque will include works by composers such as Francisco Corbetta, Robert de Visée, Gaspar Sanz, Santiago De Murcia and Turlough O’Carolan.
The Library in Ardee will be the venue for “Meet the Instruments”, a demonstration and performance by musicians from the IBO aimed at children from 5 to 12 years old. Informal and fun, the musicians will play, show their instruments to the children, and encourage the children to respond. With the children sitting in a ring, surrounded by books and cds, “Meet the Instruments” is a great way for kids to be introduced to music and musicians.
Ardee and the surrounding locality are full of history and heritage, and each year, one of the events which have drawn full houses has been the lecture on some aspect of the area’s heritage. This year, Ardee Baroque Chair, John Rountree, will give a talk on “The Life and Work of Vere Foster (1819 – 1900), Philanthropist and Educationalist.” John had previously given a lecture on the Church of Ireland church in Collon, and the Foster family had been part of his research for that talk.
“Vere Foster worked for the good of Irish people in so many different ways, that he has been largely forgotten”, says John. “He campaigned for more humane conditions for those travelling to the U.S. during the Famine years, and also contributed much to the education system and teaching profession. He deserves more recognition, and as his family seat was at Glyde Court, Tallanstown, we in Louth should be proud of him, and know more about him.”
Admission to the lecture is free.
The Programme for Ardee Baroque 2012 is now available to download
County Arts Officer
Louth County Council
041 – 6857940
Dundalk Town Council
042 – 9392950
Louth County Council
087 – 6115679