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CO M P OS I N G TH E I S L AN D 7-2 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 01 6 | Tel: 01 417 0000 #composingtheisland

A century of music in Ireland 1916-2016

Composing the Island: A century of music in Ireland 1916 – 2016 is sponsored by Bord na Móna and presented by RTÉ and the National Concert Hall as part of RTÉ 1916 and Ireland 2016.

All concerts will be recorded by RTÉ lyric fm


A century of music in Ireland 1916-2016

TI CK E T S Tickets: ¤10 (Concessions ¤5) 10% group discount for full price tickets Early evening organ recitals and events on Culture Night Friday 16 September are free

H OW TO BOO K Online at Phone: Tel: 01 417 0000 Box Office Monday to Saturday 10am – 6pm. (Open two hours prior to Main Auditorium performances on Sundays and Bank Holidays for one hour). In Person at the National Concert Hall • Open 10am - 6pm Monday - Saturday • Open two hours prior to Main Auditorium performances on Sundays and Bank Holidays • Open one hour prior to Kevin Barry Recital Room, John Field Room and Studio performances on Sundays and Bank Holidays

FÁI LTE / WE LCO M E As we progress through this special centenary year, our arts and culture continue to provide new ways to explore, to examine and to explain our history. The arts encourage a non-judgmental exploration of feelings as well as facts, allowing a deeper truth to emerge about who we are and where we have come from on our journey to nationhood and beyond. Ireland 2016 has been very proud to be associated with events in both the RTÉ 1916 and National Concert Hall 1916 programmes. The National Concert Hall is home to one of the centenary programme’s Permanent Reminders, the newly refurbished Kevin Barry Recital Rooms and the National Concert Hall also hosted the very successful Imagining Home series of concerts for seven successive nights over Easter Week. Composing the Island is an important project not just historically, but also in terms of presenting the music of our time and telling us something about what to expect in the future. We said that in 2016 we would remember, reflect and reimagine – an apt description of this project. But Composing the Island also reminds us of something else – that this centenary year is also a time of great discovery. The programme contains work that will shed new light on the great diversity and creativity of our creators of music. For that we should all be grateful to RTÉ and the National Concert Hall, and to Bord na Móna for its enlightened sponsorship of this unique festival.

Heather Humphreys TD Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht

FÁI LTE / WE LCO M E Composing the Island is a centenary project celebrating classical music by Irish composers written during the one hundred year period 1916-2016. Six major orchestral concerts will outline the chronological arc of this narrative, with the nuances of the stories provided by over twenty additional concerts of choral, chamber, song, mixed ensemble and instrumental music of many types. The stories behind the music will tell how individuals sought to find their own voice and, in so doing, to sound a distinctively Irish voice at a time when a young country grappled to define its identity in every sphere of life, including the political, economic, social and cultural arenas. There will also be accounts of how individuals struggled to have their music heard at all, particularly in the early years, and how that hostile environment began to change with the emergence of opportunities afforded by public service broadcasting and other important infrastructural developments in the arts and education sectors. Over the course of the festival, almost 200 works will be performed and recorded for broadcast, featuring the work of some 90 different composers. Audiences will encounter music by familiar names such as Harty, Boydell, Ó Riada and Barry alongside lesser known figures such as Rhoda Coghill, Ina Boyle and many young contemporary voices, and are likely to be confounded and excited by the sheer stylistic diversity and fertile imagination that lies within and behind the music. Presented in this centenary year, Composing the Island captures a moment in time: a celebration that both looks back over the times since 1916 and, equally, invites us to look to the future. Over the course of the three weeks, the music of the past will merge into the music of today and, in turn, point us to the future. It will inspire optimism and anticipation of how, as with all the arts, our music can play a vital and vibrant role in defining who we are in the years ahead. On behalf of RTÉ and the National Concert Hall we would like to thank Bord na Móna for its generous support, Ireland 2016 and our print media partners The Irish Times. John O’Kane

Simon Taylor

FÁI LTE / WE LCO M E Bord na Móna is a company in transition. While phasing out the harvesting of peat for energy, the company will play a major role through our many different businesses based on renewables, wind, solar, horticulture and resource recovery, in moving the economy towards a more environmentally sustainable future. Bord na Móna were eager to participate in an exciting centenary project and I heard that RTÉ and the National Concert Hall were in the initial stages of planning a centennial retrospective of the best of our music. In discussion with John O’Kane of RTÉ’s Orchestras, Quartet and Choirs and Simon Taylor of the National Concert Hall we agreed that this project would be greatly enhanced if it were done on a large scale and thereby give some impression of the magnitude of the body of work that is to be surveyed. This clearly needed considerable extra resources. The Board of Bord na Móna is pleased to be able to offer that support and thus make this a comprehensive canvas of the work of over 90 composers whose work spans the century. The composers are from all parts of the island and are representative of all traditions and genders. It is particularly heartening to note that the practice of composition is thriving, as witnessed by the many recent intriguing and beautiful works and premieres. I hope that all who attend the concerts will enjoy the rediscovery of this music and that it will inspire the composers and audiences of the next century.

John Horgan Chairman

Ina Boyle

Col. Wilhelm Fritz Brase

Charles Villiers Stanford

Joan Trimble


Week One 7 - 1 1 S E P T E M B E R 2 01 6

Irish Rhapsodies Orchestral works inspired by Irish history and landscape.

wednesday 7 september, 8pm main auditorium Ina Boyle


RTÉ Concert Orchestra Kenneth Montgomery conductor Charles Villiers Stanford Norman Hay Ina Boyle

Irish Rhapsody No. 4 The Fisherman of Lough Neagh and What He Saw (1914) Dunluce (1921) Symphony No. 1 Glencree (1927)

Born in Dublin in 1853, Charles Villiers Stanford was Professor of Music at both the Royal College of Music, London and Cambridge University. Stanford was a friend of Brahms and Offenbach and his students included Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst. His ‘Irish Rhapsody No. 4’ is sometimes referred to as the Ulster Rhapsody, not only because of its use of Ulster melodies but also because, by the composer’s own admission, it articulated his Unionist political stance. English-born Norman Hay grew up in Coleraine and became a very influential figure in Northern Ireland’s musical life as composer, arranger, organist, music critic and lecturer at Queen’s University. His tone-poem Dunluce was inspired by the dramatic ruined castle on the north Antrim coast and was performed at the London Proms in 1925. Ina Boyle was born in Wicklow and lived all her life in the family home, Bushey Park, Enniskerry. A prolific composer of vocal, choral, chamber and orchestral music, Boyle was admired and encouraged by her teacher Vaughan Williams, although few of her works were published in her lifetime and her music has been largely neglected. Boyle’s Glencree symphony received its only previous complete performance in 1945 when it was played at a Raidió Éireann studio concert. This concert will be broadcast live by RTÉ lyric fm in The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott


In Ireland A shared fascination with Ireland, its landscape, language and folk traditions inspired a number of leading Irish and English composers from Frederick May to the ‘master of the king’s music’ Arnold Bax. The result of this can be heard in the pieces being performed in this concert – chamber music and songs from the first decades of the 20th century.

thursday 8 september, 8pm main auditorium Hamilton Harty

Vanbrugh Quartet | Robin Tritschler tenor Peter Tuite piano | Clíona Doris harp William Dowdall flute | Cormac Ó hAodáin horn Hamilton Harty Frederick May Ernest John Moeran Ina Boyle Charles Villiers Stanford Arnold Bax

In Ireland (arr.) harp, flute, quartet (1918) Four Romantic Songs (1933) String Quartet No. 2 Two Poems by John Donne (1939, 1946) Horn Fantasy (1922) Harp Quintet (1919)

Born in County Down, Hamilton Harty became one of the best conductors of his time. He was also an accomplished accompanist and composer. In Ireland is his evocation of a musical saunter through Dublin. Frederick May never realised his considerable musical potential due to the tinnitus and increasing deafness that plagued him for much of his adult life. As music critic Charles Acton wrote in May’s obituary: “He might have been our Sibelius or Grieg if things had worked out differently”. Englishman Ernest John Moeran had a deep and abiding interest in Irish folk music and culture and found the peace he required for composition in his second home in Kerry. Ina Boyle, who has never received the recognition she deserves, features again in this performance, as does Charles Stanford who too found inspiration in Irish folk-song and landscape yet is regarded as a father-figure of British music. Arnold Bax, born in London, knighted in 1937 and later appointed master of the king’s music, had a fascination with Ireland that influenced his music, permeated his poetry (he wrote under the alias Dermot O’Byrne) and resulted in him acquiring the Irish language.


Songs of Erin: An Irish Song-Book (Volume 1) Original compositions and folk-song arrangements from the first decades of the 20th century.

friday 9 september, 1.05pm john field room


Robin Tritschler tenor Peter Tuite piano Hamilton Harty

My Lagan Love The Stranger’s Grave Cradle Song The Two Houses

Charles Villiers Stanford

The Fairy Lough Trottin’ to the fair A broken song Drake’s Drum Cutting Rushes Witches’ Charms

Arnold Bax

Youth In the morning When I was one-and-twenty Carrey Clavel The Market Girl

Herbert Hughes

She moved through the fair Oh! Breathe not his name A good roaring fire The Forlorn Queen The Palatine’s Daughter

Arnold Bax

The popularity of songs such as She moved through the fair (known to many today through singers such as Sinéad O’Connor, Gemma Hayes, Mary Black and others) are testament to the legacy of the many beloved folk-song settings that continue to delight audiences when performed at home and abroad. Many of the songs in this recital by Stanford, Harty and Hughes are associated with the celebrated Irish baritone Harry Plunket Greene (1865-1936), a staunch champion of song in the English language in the early 20th century, who also premiered major works by Parry and Elgar, including The Dream of Gerontius. 3

Organ Music Three Influential Teachers: 1916-1945.

friday 9 september, 6.30pm main auditorium David Leigh organ

Charles Villiers Stanford

Percy Buck Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 3 (Fantasie –Variations –Introduction and Fugue) Charles Kitson Introduction and Passacaglia in A minor (1919) Charles Villiers Stanford Sonata Eroica (Rheims – Adagio molto. Temo di Marcia Solenne –Verdun) (1917) Percy Buck was Professor of Music at Trinity College Dublin, where Ina Boyle was one of his pupils. Charles Kitson was professor at UCD (later succeeding Buck at Trinity) and also organist at Christ Church Cathedral. Charles Stanford was one of the most celebrated composition teachers of his day and a superb organist who was only 22 years of age when he was appointed organist to Trinity College Cambridge.


Four Masters: Orchestral Music from the 1930s Chronicles of Celtic Ireland.

friday 9 september, 8pm main auditorium


RTÉ Concert Orchestra Gavin Maloney conductor Máire Flavin soprano Howard Ferguson Frederick May Hamilton Harty Aloys Fleischmann

Howard Ferguson

Partita for Orchestra (1936) Symphonic Ballad (1937) The Children of Lir (1938) The Four Masters (1944)

Howard Ferguson, born in Belfast in 1908, emerged as an important composer in London during the 1930s, before setting composition aside at the end of the 1950s to concentrate on his work as an editor and teacher. Frederick May’s ‘Symphonic Ballad’ disappeared following its premiere by the BBC in Belfast in August 1937 and the opportunity to hear this work again may prompt a reassessment of this composer, who avoided the prevailing musical nationalism of the time in favour of an innovative and often experimental style. Hamilton Harty features once more in this series with The Children of Lir – his last major completed work. Aloys Fleischmann was a driving force in the musical life of Cork for half a century and composed a broad range of music for many contexts and settings. The Four Masters is a concert overture drawing inspiration from the annals of Celtic Ireland. This concert will be broadcast live by RTÉ lyric fm in The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott


“Dispensing Musical Understanding to the People” Celebrating the Irish Free State.

saturday 10 september, 1.05pm main auditorium Band of the Defence Forces School of Music Col. Wilhelm Fritz Brase

A. J. Potter A. J. Potter Thomas C. Kelly Col. Wilhelm Fritz Brase Col. Wilhelm Fritz Brase James Bolger Col. Fred O’Callaghan John F. Larchet Sammy Nestico Hamilton Harty (arr. Eric Richards)

The Blackthorn Wattle Finnegan’s Wake (1969) A Wexford Rhapsody (1954) The Frost is All Over (1940) General Mulcahy March (1924) Rollicking Rakes Air from Co. Derry (Rev. 2014) Lament for Youth (1939) The Boys of Wexford (1963) The Fair Day (from An Irish Symphony 1904)

In 1922 the Chief of Staff of the Free State’s new army, General Richard Mulcahy, said: “I want to have bands that will dispense music and musical understanding in the highest terms to the people.” Mulcahy and his musical adviser John Larchet (director of music at the Abbey Theatre and an influential teacher at both the Royal Irish Academy of Music and University College Dublin) entrusted the development of the bands to the distinguished German musician Colonel Wilhelm Fritz Brase, and their first public performance was at the Theatre Royal in October 1923. The army bands, their conductors and musicians, played a vital role in music in Ireland in the early years of the state, and the Defence Forces, along with RTÉ, have been the country’s biggest employer of professional musicians ever since.


Gaelic Revival and Foreign Influences: Chamber Music of the Early 20th Century A selection of piano trios and sonatas by influential and significant composers.

saturday 10 september, 7.30pm kevin barry recital room Fidelio Trio


Joan Trimble

Ernest John Moeran Joan Trimble Michele Esposito Charles Villiers Stanford

Piano Trio in D major (1920-1925) Phantasy Trio (1940) Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 in A major, Op. 67 (1913) Piano Trio No. 3 in A major, Op. 158 Per aspera ad astra (1918)

In addition to further works by Stanford and Moeran, this programme features the Italian-born Michele Esposito, one of the most important figures in the musical life of Dublin for over 40 years from the early 1880s. A renowned teacher, he was an ardent supporter of the Feis Ceoil and he also established the Dublin Orchestral Society in a city that was sadly lacking a professional orchestra. Esposito was inspired by the Gaelic revival to produce many works infused with a distinctly Irish flavour. Enniskillen-born Joan Trimble had a successful concert career as a piano duo with her sister Valerie before she took over the family newspaper business in Enniskillen, The Impartial Observer. Her ‘Phantasy Trio’ attractively combines Irish melodic traits with the prevalent English pastoral style of the day.


Michele Esposito

Chamber Music between the Wars The first of four string quartet programmes focuses mainly on the 1930s.

sunday 11 september, 3pm kevin barry recital room Vanbrugh Quartet Chiral Quartet Matthew Manning oboe Ina Boyle Brian Boydell Frederick May Aloys Fleischmann

Aloys Fleischmann

Quartet in E minor (1934) Oboe Quintet, Op. 11 (1940) Quartet in C minor (1936) Movement for String Quartet (1927-32)

Ina Boyle features again with a quartet that was one of the few of her works performed publicly during her lifetime, even achieving a radio broadcast in 1937 and a recording by the Macnaghten Quartet. Composer, musicologist and Professor of Music at TCD from 1962 to 1982, Brian Boydell was one of the most important figures in Irish music from 1940 onwards. His compositional style was both original and accessible, and his ‘Oboe Quintet’ was his first significant chamber music work. Frederick May’s ‘String Quartet in C minor’ was described by the illustrious Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians as “one of the most individual statements from an Irish composer in the first half of the 20th century.” Though he was prolific in other genres, the chamber music output of Aloys Fleischmann was very small, most notably his early piano quintet of 1938. The ‘Movement for String Quartet’, dating from between 1927 and 1932, is his only known work in this genre.


Seán Ó Riada

Gerald Barry

Jane O’Leary


Raymond Deane


Week Two 14 - 1 8 S E P T E M B E R 2 01 6


New Beginnings The formation of the Raidió Éireann orchestras and their impact on orchestral music in Ireland.

wednesday 14 september, 8pm | main auditorium


RTÉ Concert Orchestra | John Wilson conductor

Brian Boydell

Brian Boydell In Memoriam Mahatma Gandhi, Op. 30 (1948) Seán Ó Riada Hercules Dux Ferrariae (1957) John Larchet By the Waters of Moyle (1957) Éamonn Ó Gallchobhair Waltz from Nocturne sa Chearnóig (1959) Thomas C. Kelly Fantasia for Harp & Orchestra, on two Irish Airs (O’Carolan’s Lament and The Heather Glen) (1960) Noel Kelehan Cuchulainn’s Lament (1967) Gerard Victory In Memoriam James Connolly (1966) A. J. Potter Sinfonia de Profundis (1969) The formation of the Raidió Éireann orchestras in 1948 was a pivotal development in the Irish musical landscape in creating opportunities for composers. Brian Boydell was a life-long pacifist and his response to Gandhi’s assassination provoked a deeply felt elegy. Throughout his career Seán Ó Riada sought various ways in which to bring Irish traditional music together with forms and idioms associated with classical music, and his Hercules Dux Ferrariae is a tantalising glimpse of his unique talent. John Larchet appears again with By the Waters of Moyle, one of his most celebrated orchestral settings. Raidió Éireann’s daily need to record and broadcast orchestral music of a great many hues was serviced by composers and arrangers such as Éamonn Ó Gallchobhair, Thomas C. Kelly and Noel Kelehan, whose output was as varied as it was prolific. Gerard Victory, Director of Music at RTÉ (1967–82), was a committed composer of considerable stylistic versatility whose In Memoriam was one of a number of works commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Belfast-born composer Archie (A.J.) Potter’s reputation is based primarily on his consummate talent in creating music of a lighter vein, yet his Sinfonia de Profundis demonstrates that he was also a composer of considerable originality and depth. This concert will be broadcast live by RTÉ lyric fm in The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott


Choirland: 100 Years of Irish Choral Music From the rich tapestry of choral music in Ireland, Chamber Choir Ireland explores everything from the familiarity of Stanford and the adapted traditional airs of Fleischmann through to the generation of composers of the present day. thursday 15 september, 8pm | main auditorium David Fennessy

Chamber Choir Ireland Paul Hillier conductor David Fennessy Charles Villiers Stanford Arnold Bax Brian Boydell Aloys Fleischmann Stephen McNeff Gerald Barry David Fennessy Eoghan Desmond

chOirland (2002) Three Motets (1905) This worldes joie (1922) O my thoughts surcease from Three Madrigals (1967) Na Trí Captaení Loinge – a choral dance suite (1956) A Half Darkness (2016) (With a commissioned text by Aoife Mannix) Long Time (2012) Letter to Michael (2014) More Mother Goose Melodies (2015) *world premiere

A prestigious line-up of contemporary composers joins the voices of those we have heard previously in the Composing the Island series. Central to the programme is a newly commissioned work by Belfast-born composer Stephen McNeff and Irish poet Aoife Mannix as a response to the commemorations of the 1916 Rising. Woven around this work are some of the leading composers writing in Ireland today. David Fennessy is a guitarist and lectures in composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. chOirland gives us the title of the programme and the title of a joint publication from Chamber Choir Ireland, the Contemporary Music Centre and the Association of Irish Choirs – an anthology of Irish choral music marking the 60th anniversary of the Arts Council in 2012. Gerald Barry, one of Ireland’s best-known contemporary composers internationally, is a recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Award for his opera The Importance of Being Earnest. A selection of his choral and instrumental music Barry meets Beethoven was released on the Orchid Classics label in June 2016. Ending this choral tribute is a work by Dublin-based composer, conductor and bass-baritone Eoghan Desmond who has both performed with and composed for Chamber Choir Ireland. 12

A Celebration of 21st Century Piano Music

friday 16 september, 1.05pm john field room


Michael McHale piano Philip Hammond Miniatures and Modulations (2009–13) Philip Hammond David Byers A Full Moon (2009) Ian Wilson Sonnenwende (2009) Benedict Schlepper-Connolly New work (2016) *world premiere Ronan Guilfoyle Bystanders (2016) *world premiere Pianist, critic and broadcaster Philip Hammond’s Miniatures and Modulations are described by the composer as “a small, personal tribute” to the memory of Edward Bunting, who was engaged to annotate and record all the music he heard at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792. Organist, choirmaster and composer David Byers had an extensive career with the BBC including the role of chief producer of Music and Arts. His work A Full Moon takes its cue from a poem by Belfast poet Joseph Campbell, The Moon, originally published in 1917. Sonnenwende means solstice in German and is a rhythmic, buoyant piece written for Michael McHale by Aosdána member and former director of the Sligo New Music Festival Ian Wilson. Benedict Schlepper-Connolly is a director of Ergodos, the Dublin-based music company that he founded with fellow composer Garrett Sholdice in 2006. Benedict writes for a diverse range of musical forms including solo performance projects and music for dance and film. Ronan Guilfoyle is a jazz bassist and founder/director of the jazz department at Newpark Music Centre in Dublin. Bystanders is about, and dedicated to, all the civilian casualties of the 1916 Rising; the innocent victims of events beyond their control.


Old and New: Organ Music 1945–1990 A varied programme illustrating the developments of Irish music in the latter half of the 20th century.

friday 16 september, 6.30pm main auditorium Fergal Caulfield organ Joseph Groocock Daniel McNulty James Wilson Raymond Deane Paul Hayes Gerald Barry Walter Beckett

Choral Prelude on Hanover (1945) Reverie (circa 1955) Jeu des Tierces (1966) Idols (1971) Coda (1975) Sur les Points (1981) Organ Voluntary (1985)

James Wilson

Joseph Groocock was a renowned teacher, organist and a passionate devotee of J.S. Bach, as can plainly be heard in this ‘Choral Prelude’. Though blinded by an accident at the age of four, Daniel McNulty was organist at the Augustinian Church in Thomas Street, Dublin from 1939 until his death and was an influential teacher of both piano and singing. Raymond Deane is a founding member of the Association of Young Irish Composers and an award-winning pianist. Idols is one of his early works or “his first maturity” as he describes it, pre-dating his studies in Basle, Cologne (with Karlheinz Stockhausen) and Berlin. London-born James Wilson settled in Ireland from 1949 and as Professor of Composition at the RIAM from 1971 he was to exert considerable influence on a generation of Irish composers, including Paul Hayes. Paul Hayes, now resident in Japan, has a particular interest in live electronics and music theatre, and has fulfilled commissions for the Dance Council of Ireland and RTÉ. Gerald Barry, featured previously in Composing the Island, also studied organ with Gerard Gillen and Piet Kee. An organ pupil of George Hewson (Organist and Master of the Choristers at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral), Walter Beckett later succeeded Archie (A.J.) Potter as Professor of Harmony and Counterpoint at the RIAM. A free ticketed event as part of Culture Night 2016. 14

Visions of Irish Modernism: Exploring New Horizons

friday 16 september, 8pm main auditorium


RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Gerhard Markson conductor Seóirse Bodley Roger Doyle Gerard Victory Raymond Deane Seóirse Bodley Raymond Deane Gerald Barry

Seóirse Bodley

Configurations (1967) Four Sketches for Orchestra (1969) Miroirs (1969) Sphinxes (1972 rev. 2015) A small white cloud drifts over Ireland (1975) Embers (1973/1978 rev. 2015) From The Intelligence Park (1986)

Seóirse Bodley was a member of the National Concert Hall’s first Board of Management. A prolific and influential composer, his search for an individual voice took him from new forms of expression, epitomised in Configurations, to his subsequent exploration of Irish traditional music including sean-nós. This contrast is captured in his iconic work, A small white cloud drifts over Ireland. Roger Doyle is a pioneering voice in Irish electro-acoustic composition and his ‘Four Sketches’ provide insight into his formation as a young composer. Gerard Victory’s prolific output embraces a range of genres and musical styles and, perhaps as the title implies, Miroirs offers an essay reminiscent of a quasi-Gallic musical sound world. The young Raymond Deane’s musical talent and modernist convictions of experimentation and fragmentation were demonstrated at an early stage in Sphinxes and, a little later, in the ethereal and restrained poignancy of Embers. Gerald Barry’s first opera, The Intelligence Park, displays the brilliance and originality that have gained a still growing international reputation for this composer. This concert will be broadcast live by RTÉ lyric fm in The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott

A free ticketed event as part of Culture Night 2016. 15

Closing the 20th Century Concorde, founded in 1976, was the first ensemble in Ireland to promote new music on a regular basis, and celebrates its 40th birthday this year.

Concorde Jane O’Leary artistic director | Aoife Gibney soprano Madeleine Staunton flute | Paul Roe clarinet Elaine Clark violin | Adele Johnson viola Martin Johnson cello | Aileen Cahill piano Gerard Victory Philip Martin James Wilson Deirdre McKay Eric Sweeney Jane O’Leary Rhona Clarke Frank Corcoran Stephen Gardner

©Marie Hanlon

saturday 17 september, 7.30pm kevin barry recital room

Jane O’Leary

Runic Variations (1988) Garments of the Night (1981) Three Play Things (1983) through still pollen (1998) Strings in the Earth and Air (1988) Poem from a Three Year Old (1976) Purple Dust (1987) The Quare Hawk (1974) Trane (1996)

From the 1970s: Concorde founder Jane O’Leary’s setting of poetry by Brendan Kennelly was premiered at Kilkenny Arts Week in 1977 and Frank Corcoran’s flute solo The Quare Hawk was first performed by Madeleine Staunton in 1979 at the National Gallery. From the 1980s: Pianist and composer Philip Martin’s settings of short poems by Ono no Komachi, a 9th century Japanese poet, were written in 1981. James Wilson features again with a set of three solo clarinet pieces from 1983 which were written for clarinettist Alan Hacker. Aosdána member and DCU lecturer Rhona Clarke’s early instrumental trio Purple Dust won the New Music for Sligo Competition in 1987, while Gerard Victory’s Runic Variations and Eric Sweeney’s Strings in the Earth and Air were both commissioned by Concorde in 1988 to commemorate the Dublin Millennium. From the 1990s: Two more pieces commissioned by Concorde – Deirdre McKay’s through still pollen and Trane by Stephen Gardner, a homage to saxophonist John Coltrane. 16

20th Century Irish String Quartets Three significant works by major figures within Irish composition during the second half of the 20th century.

Sunday 18 September, 3pm kevin barry recital room

John Kinsella


RTÉ Contempo Quartet Seóirse Bodley Quartet No. 1 (1968) John Kinsella Quartet No. 3 (1977) Raymond Deane Quartet No. 1 Silhouettes (1981) Seóirse Bodley’s ‘Quartet No. 1’ is an intense and compelling work that shows how the composer embraced the influences of European modernism in the late 1960s, before the stylistic shifts that were to come. John Kinsella, one-time Head of Music at RTÉ, is another major figure who consciously altered the language and direction of his compositions in searching for a personal distinctive voice. His ‘String Quartet No. 3’ is a significant work composed at a time of stylistic crisis that, with hindsight, can be regarded as marking the end of a distinct phase in his output. The trio of works is completed by another major figure, Raymond Deane, whose ‘Quartet No. 1’ dates from a period he has described as being a time of dispersal and exploration.



Linda Buckley

John Buckley

Deirdre Gribbin Garrett Sholdice



Week Three 2 0 - 2 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 01 6


Love and Death – Grá agus Bás Music for a new century.

tuesday 20 september, 8pm main auditorium Crash Ensemble Iarla Ó Lionáird singer Michelle O’Rourke singer


Ann Cleare Dorchadas (2007) Andrew Hamilton music for people who like art (2009) Gerald Barry First Sorrow (2006–7) Donnacha Dennehy Grá agus Bás (2006)

Ann Cleare

Crash Ensemble is Ireland’s leading new music ensemble, a group of world-class musicians who play the most adventurous, ground-breaking music of today. “A wild spirit most certainly is alive in Ann Cleare’s music, most of which is concerned with timbre, which is the quality of a sound – whether it buzzes or hisses, or sounds breathy or full.”* Ann is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition at Harvard University. Andrew Hamilton “presents simple, familiar materials – what sounds like a pop song fragment here, a calypso pattern there – and molds them into something new, by twisting them around in every possible direction, or by repeating them to the point of absurdity.”* He is a visiting tutor in composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Gerald Barry’s First Sorrow refers to the story by Kafka about a trapeze artist who is happy only when aloft. At the end of the piece the quartet sings a hymn to the melody of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Donnacha Dennehy founded Crash Ensemble in 1997. Grá agus Bás features on the eponymous album which NPR (National Public Radio) named one of its “50 favorite albums” (in any genre) of 2011. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University. “Crash Ensemble, an Irish new-music collective with international cachet and considerable chops.” The Washington Post * Charlie Wilmoth, Dusted Magazine music for people who like art and First Sorrow were commissioned by Crash Ensemble with funding from the Arts Council. Grá agus Bás was commissioned by Trinity College Dublin.


Alchemy Four seminal works on the cusp of the millennium.

wednesday 21 september, 8pm main auditorium RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Gavin Maloney conductor

Siobhán Cleary

John Buckley Taller than Roman Spears (1977 rev. 1986) John Kinsella Symphony No. 3 Joie de Vivre (1990) Kevin O’Connell North (1998) Siobhán Cleary Alchemy (2001)

John Buckley emerged as a significant composer at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s with the striking success of works such as Taller than Roman Spears. He remains a dedicated teacher and a prolific composer. In his later years John Kinsella, featured previously, has become a committed symphonist, employing this musical structure to create a unique sound world, as eloquently exemplified in his ‘Symphony No. 3’. North, which takes its title from a Seamus Heaney poem, is part of a series of significant orchestral works begun in the 1990s in which Kevin O’Connell articulates his distinctive and uncompromising voice through meticulously formed musical argument. Also during the 1990s, Siobhán Cleary gained appreciation for the intense lyricism of her music, as heard in Alchemy. This concert will be broadcast live by RTÉ lyric fm in The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott


The Irish Piano

thursday 22 september, 7.30pm kevin barry recital room


Hugh Tinney piano

Philip Martin

Aloys Fleischmann Three movements from Sreath do Phiano (Piano Suite) (1933) Le líonrith (Agitato) Mall calma, diaidh ar ndiaidh ag sírneartú (Largo risoluto) Gasta gealadhramach (Presto scherzando) Brian Boydell Dance for an Ancient Ritual (1959) Capriccio (1958) Seóirse Bodley Two Aislingí - Nos. 1 & 5 (1977) Ian Wilson Lim (1998) Siobhán Cleary Suantraí (2003) E. J. Moeran Irish Love Song (1926) Howard Ferguson Five Bagatelles (1944) Gerard Victory Prelude and Toccata (1962) Philip Martin The Rainbow Comes and Goes (1987) Jane O’Leary Forgotten Worlds (1987) Raymond Deane Three pieces from Noctuary (2011) Minerva’s Owl … Duskiss Couchant

Composing the Island’s journey is compressed into a single concert as Hugh Tinney performs some superb and innovative Irish piano music from the last 100 years.


Songs of Erin: An Irish Song-Book (Volume 2) Original compositions and folk-song arrangements primarily from the latter decades of the 20th century.

friday 23 september, 1.05pm john field room

Rachel Kelly mezzo-soprano Una Hunt piano

Bernadette Marmion

Philip Martin He Wished for the Cloths of Heaven I am of Ireland The Lake Isle of Innisfree The Fiddler of Dooney (from Five W.B. Yeats Songs 1973–1989) Hamilton Harty My Lagan Love Sea Wrack Bernadette Marmion When you are old (1974) Bright Cap (1968–9) Philip Hammond Three songs to texts taken from Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies Thomas C. Kelly Huisabá a Bháibín Óig The Mother Herbert Hughes I know where I’m goin’ Down by the Salley Gardens The Star of the County Down The composers featured in this performance have appeared previously in Composing the Island with the exception of Bernadette Marmion. Bernadette studied piano with Rhona Marshall and composition with A. J. Potter. Her works include piano, chamber and choral music and she is co-author of a series of music theory textbooks. T.C. Kelly was Head of Music at Clongowes Wood College for over 30 years and had a long association with the then Raidió Éireann Light Orchestra as composer and arranger. He is the grandfather of today’s singer Rachel Kelly – indicative of the sense of continuity that flows through Composing the Island.


Organ Music: 1990–2016 Contemporary Irish organ composition.

friday 23 september, 6.30pm main auditorium Donnacha Dennehy


David Adams organ Donnacha Dennehy Kevin O’Connell Jonathan Nangle Sebastian Adams

Work for Organ (1992/8) Mad, Avid, Sad (2000) Chorale, Toccata and Fugue for Organ (2001) Toccata L’homme armé (2014) Work for Organ (2013)

This concert features Irish organ works composed by non-organists, perhaps surprisingly resulting in a series of idiomatic and virtuosic works perfectly married to the instrument. Donnacha Dennehy’s ‘Work for Organ’ was a student work composed for the graduation of Kerry Houston. His later anagrammatic Mad, Avid, Sad was dedicated to the performer of this evening’s recital, who was one of the main keyboard players for the first nine years of Crash Ensemble. Sebastian Adams’ large-scale ‘Work for Organ’ pays homage to earlier Irish composers including Gerald Barry and Donnacha Dennehy. Kevin O’Connell’s ‘Chorale, Toccata and Fugue’ clearly demonstrates the composer’s vitality as well as rhythmic and contrapuntal mastery, while Jonathan Nangle’s Toccata L’homme armé is a breath of fresh air, a skilful burst of energy and lightness.


New Century The energy and vitality of a new century is encapsulated in a concert that brings Irish orchestral music up to the present day, featuring a trio of Belfast-born composers and two from Dublin.

friday 23 september, 8pm main auditorium Brian Irvine

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Gavin Maloney conductor Elaine Clark violin Deirdre Gribbin Donnacha Dennehy Stephen Gardner Brian Irvine Andrew Hamilton

Venus Blazing (2001) Crane (2009) NEVER…NEVER...NEVER... (2003) Big Daddy, Motorhead (2009) C (2016) *world premiere/RTÉ commission

Deirdre Gribbin’s Venus Blazing – a violin concerto in all but name – offers a striking example of this composer’s visionary approach. Stephen Gardner has forged an uncompromising musical language which he has wielded to powerful effect in an orchestral work that seeks to capture the essence of intransigence and defiance. By contrast Brian Irvine’s voice is eclectic, witty and sometimes surreal and his musical language celebrates equally the ordinary and the extraordinary in our lives. Donnacha Dennehy has been a major influence on a generation of composers both as a teacher and through compositions that have openly embraced significant influences from Holland, USA and beyond. Crane is a dazzling orchestral work whose title reflects that symbol of the construction boom of Celtic Tiger Ireland. Completing the programme is a new work by Birmingham-based Dubliner Andrew Hamilton, commissioned by RTÉ especially for Composing the Island. This concert will be broadcast live by RTÉ lyric fm in The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott


New Century Quartets Four recent works for the medium of string quartet that amply display the sheer diversity of musical language flowing from a generation of Irish composers born after the late 1970s.

saturday 24 september, 1.05pm kevin barry recital room Gráinne Mulvey


RTÉ Contempo Quartet David Fennessy Enda Bates Gráinne Mulvey Seán Clancy

bow your head (2008) Quartet No. 1 (2008) Entropy (2009) Neue Kraft Fühlend (2013)

David Fennessy has built an international reputation both through a distinctive body of works including bow your head, and by his influence as a teacher. Enda Bates’ work spans a range of forms and styles, often using electro-acoustic techniques and sometimes, as here, combining these with more traditional means. Gráinne Mulvey has won respect and admiration for her fiercely individual and uncompromising voice, as heard in the untamed soundscapes of Entropy. In common with the other composers featured in this concert, Birmingham-based Seán Clancy is another successful artist who also teaches composition. Neue Kraft Fühlend is part of his growing body of output for string quartet.


Here and Now: Crash Ensemble New Music Marathon Hear where new music is at now.

saturday 24 september, 3pm studio Crash Ensemble Roger Doyle Raymond Deane Andrew Hamilton Deirdre Gribbin Judith Ring Barry O’Halpin Roger Doyle Linda Buckley Deirdre McKay Raymond Deane Donnacha Dennehy Andrew Hamilton Garrett Sholdice Ed Bennett Jonathan Nangle Kevin Volans

Roger Doyle

Invitation to a journey (extract) (2014) Swelt belly at dawn (2013) Lipids (2014) Performance by composer Fiol (2008) Ice Etchings (2002) Performance by composer Bulb (2006) Performance by composer Tanka for Aki Takahashi (prelude #5) (2012) Magnetic (2010) Pause (2014) White Man Sleeps (1997)

“It is hard to imagine how a group that has been in place since 1997 can remain so vital, so dedicated to creating new musical horizons and yet, Crash Ensemble do just that.” Galway International Arts Festival


Five Decades of Music for Guitar An overview of music for the classical guitar since 1969. saturday 24 september, 7.30pm kevin barry recital room


John Feeley guitar

Frank Corcoran

Andrew Shiels The Voyage of Maeldún: The Island of the Black Mourners – The Island of the Little Cat Mary Kelly Adagio – Moderato from Shard (1982 rev. 1998) Frank Corcoran Prologo from Three Pieces (1990) Brian Boydell Fantasia from Three Pieces (1974) John Kinsella Guitar Fantasy (1974) Jerome de Bromhead Gemini (1969) Greg Caffrey Takemitsu’s Dream (2008) Philip Martin Chorale from Due Angeli (1992) Jane O’Leary Four pieces: Aria – Narrative – Fantasy – Finale (1993) Eric Sweeney An Chailín Álainn: The Beautiful Girl from Three Irish Folktunes for Guitar (2003) John Buckley Guitar Sonata No. 2 Adagio – Con brio – Adagio espressivo – Allegro energico e brillante (1998) Waterford-born composer Jerome de Bromhead’s Gemini is the first modern Irish work for classical guitar. Guitarist and composer Andrew Shiels’ programmatic work The Voyage of Maeldún is based on a 10th century Irish legend. Shard by Mary Kelly was first performed in 1988 by Simon Taylor at the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery. Frank Corcoran’s works have been performed extensively in Europe and the US. Major Irish composers Brian Boydell and John Kinsella each contributed one work to the Irish guitar canon and both were first performed in 1974. Greg Caffrey’s guitar music has been recorded by the celebrated Australian guitarist Craig Ogden. Philip Martin’s Due Angeli dates from 1992 while Jane O’Leary’s ‘Four Pieces’ was premiered the following year. John Buckley’s two sonatas represent a significant contribution to the instrument’s repertoire. Former choral director at RTÉ Eric Sweeney’s Three Irish Folktunes was composed in 2003.


Wayfarers A centenary commission is complemented by two recent works which illustrate the importance of the string quartet in Irish contemporary music.

sunday 25 september, 3pm john field room Vanbrugh Quartet Chamber Choir Ireland Ian Wilson conductor Abbi Temple soprano Jeffrey Ledwidge baritone Deirdre Gribbin John Kinsella Ian Wilson

Ian Wilson

hearing your genes evolve (2013) Quartet No. 5 (2013) Wayfarers (2016) *world premiere

Two significant compositions by Deirdre Gribbin and John Kinsella are followed by Wayfarers – a large-scale work for mixed choir and string quartet written as a response to the 1916 Easter Rising. It does not, however, focus on the political but rather the human element of the rebellion, examining through musical settings of poems, letters and texts by rebel leaders and their contemporaries Joseph Campbell and Eva Gore-Booth the personal impulses behind, and the costs of involvement in the uprising. Poems by Pádraic Pearse and Joseph Plunkett tease out both the joys and burdens of their commitment to establishing a sovereign nation, while Joseph Campbell and Eva Gore-Booth, at a little more distance, describe for us the mood of the times both before and after the Rising. Five poem settings for full choir are interspersed with settings for soloists and string quartet of extracts from letters by Plunkett to his fiancée and from Pearse to his mother as well as portions of Pearse’s court-martial speech and Roger Casement’s last words. The effect of the whole is to paint a picture of what it can be like to commit to a struggle, to give an idea of the effects of that commitment on self and loved ones, and to understand some of the similarities between ourselves and those involved in rebellion. Wayfarers was commissioned by the National Concert Hall, Dublin and Triskel Christchurch, Cork with funding assistance from the Arts Council of Ireland, to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising.


Voices of the Future A small but delightful sample of some of the music written for children’s voices by a range of composers since 1980.

sunday 25 september, 6.30pm studio


RTÉ Cór na nÓg RTÉ Contempo Quartet Mary Amond O’Brien choral director Dan Bodwell double bass

Sue Furlong John Gibson Michael McGlynn Michael Gallen Havelock Nelson Elaine Agnew

Elaine Agnew

Fáilte and Don’t Let the Flame from Peace Songs from County Wexford (1995) Codladh Sámh (2004) Cúnnla (2004) The Most Beautiful Flowers of All (2016) The Girl with the Buckles (1967) Wait and See (with string quintet) (2000)

John Gibson is one of Ireland’s leading composers for the piano and his Codladh Sámh is scored for choir and piano. Havelock Nelson is particularly associated with vocal and choral settings of Irish folk-songs, while another composer whose name is intrinsically linked with choral music is Michael McGlynn, founder and artistic director of Anúna. The Most Beautiful Flowers of All is taken from Michael Gallen’s suite of pieces Oscar Wilde Stories for children’s choir and orchestra, commissioned by RTÉ lyric fm in 2016. Sue Furlong has composed extensively for children, harnessing a talent for writing challenging choral works that are suitable for both young and more mature voices. Former RTÉ lyric fm composer in residence Elaine Agnew was commissioned by the Irish Chamber Orchestra to write a work for them and a children’s choir, the result of which was Wait and See, premiered in 2000.


Out of the Cradle: A Choral Finale Having traversed a century of music in Ireland, the closing choral concert brings Composing the Island back full circle, with two works from the 1920s from both parts of Ireland.

sunday 25 september, 8pm main auditorium RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra RTÉ Philharmonic Choir Mark Hindley conductor/chorus master

Rhoda Coghill

Norman Hay The Wind Among The Reeds (1921) Rhoda Coghill Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking (1923)

This performance features two uplifting works that were written by now largely forgotten figures – one from Coleraine, the other from Dublin – setting poetry by Yeats and Whitman. Norman Hay we have encountered previously on our journey through Composing the Island. With Rhoda Coghill, there is a rare chance to rediscover and connect to a figure who, in a period when female composers found little encouragement, was largely self-taught as a composer. However, with her horizons perhaps shaped by a period studying piano in Berlin with Artur Schnabel, she created a small series of works that looked forward, reflecting an acute musical and artistic sensibility. Despite foregoing composition in the 1940s, she played a key part in musical life within Raidió Éireann as accompanist for some 40 years and her creativity extended to publishing a number of original anthologies of poetry in the 1940s and ‘50s. This concert will be broadcast live by RTÉ lyric fm in The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott



Composing the Island: A century of music in Ireland 1916 – 2016 is sponsored by Bord na Móna and presented by RTÉ and the National Concert Hall as part of RTÉ 1916 and Ireland 2016.

All concerts will be recorded by RTÉ lyric fm

CO M P OS I N G TH E I S L AN D 7-2 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 01 6 | Tel: 01 417 0000 #composingtheisland

A century of music in Ireland 1916-2016


A century of music in Ireland 1916-2016. 7-25th September at the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Sponsored by Bord na Móna and presented by...


A century of music in Ireland 1916-2016. 7-25th September at the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Sponsored by Bord na Móna and presented by...