Association of Hugh Lane November Series 1998.
IMRO Lyric AIC001 [51.35]
AIC,Copyright House, Pembroke Row, Dublin 2. Tel 00 353 1 4961484
|The Old Men admiring themselves in the
|Two Lyric Sketches
|Prelude for Morton Feldman
|27 January 1995 :Lost in Tokyo
This CD is for promotional purposes only. It is not for sale and any attempts
to sell it are a violation of the law.
Then what is the purpose of reviewing it?
It is available from the above address for those who genuinely want to promote
I have contributed mini-biographies and articles on Irish composers to this
website. If you consult my biography of Gerard Victory it will give you a
good start to the subject of serious Irish music. There are still people
who believe that the only music in Ireland is the traditional music and a
few pop groups which, quite frankly, are a lot better than British and American
ones although I have to admit that The Cranberries give me an awful headache.
Ireland does not just consist of traditional music and Irish dancing, which
has now been brought to the fore by Riverdance, an amazing show although
I was perturbed by Michael Flatley's ego, but amazed at his skill and that
of his leading lady, Jean Butler. who appealed to me far more becaue she
was so natural and unassuming.
On this website there are my articles about Irish composers such as the
aforementioned Gerard Victory, James Wilson, John Buckley, Rhona Clarke,
Elisabeth MacConchy. Frederick May, Sean O'Riada, John Larchett and Edgar
Siobhan Cleary was born in Dublin in 1970 and studied at Queens
, Belfast. She has also studied briefly
in France, Poland and Italy. She scored a great success with her orchestral
work Threads and with her work Hum! for chamber orchestra.
She has written music to two feature films both produced by Roger Corman
namely Spacejacked and Stray Bull
Deuce is not only an expression used in cards but an old Irish name
for the devil who would appear at wakes and challenge the best fiddler to
a competition. Hence this piece is composed for two violins played here by
Brona Cahill and Michael d'Arcy who often play a semitone apart or a major
sixth apart. The first part indicates the competition while the second part
is meditative. After all, something has to give!
It is lively, dramatic music of the concertante type. It is mainly flowing
as opposed to being static music; the slow section is evocative with a very
real presence and sense of atmosphere.
James Wilson is the leading Irish composer of opera, having nine to his name.
English-born he has lived in Ireland since the late 1940s and in the last
year has taken Irish nationality. His opera Grinning at the Devil was
a sell-out and a great triumph in Denmark. Sir Robert Mayer commissioned
The Hunting of the Snark. Shakespeare was brilliantly portrayed in
Twelfth Night and the madness of Van Gogh in Letters to Theo. He
has composed two symphonies, a piano concerto for Gina Bachauer, which
has laid in oblivion, two violin concertoes, a horn concerto, a cello concerto
and the splendid Viola Concerto Menorah now available on Marco Polo.
His vocal music is very special particularly his song cycles A Woman Young
and Old and Irish Songs.
Arlecchino for solo flute was written for the Danish writer Elsa Glees
who wrote the libretto for Grinning at the Devil. It is very brief.
It hints at a classical style; its simplicity of utterance adds to its immediate
and durable appeal It is a very attractive and unpretentious piece. Flautists
should, indeed, must take it up.
Raymond Deane was born in County Galway in 1953 and has lived at various
locations in Europe. Brown Studies is really a string quartet in four
sections lasting about 23 minutes. There is no prize for working out the
significance of the title. The first section, opening, pairs the
instruments off.....first violin and cello and, second violin and viola.
The second section, scattering, is marked con brio and is
fragmentary. The interlude reverts to the opening and there follows
a centri-fugue which quotes from Beethoven's Op 132. The final section,
closing, quotes from Deane's opera The Wall of Cloud. The opening
chord is eerie and strange. The mystery in this music is well caught. The
material is memorable. There are some wonderful sonorities and super glissando
effects without ugliness.. There is also a strange poignancy in the music.
Here is an original mind. High tension and drama give way to pizzicato and
errie chords. The second section has a Bartokian ruggedness which is always
welcome. This is involved music but not for the shallow music lover. The
mystery and sinister feel returns in the third section. It has good melodic
fragments and an austere beauty of its own. The finale continues Deane's
personal and intriguing style with a few surprises on the way..
Judith Mok is the soprano in two of Rhona's Five Songs with texts
by Yeats and MacNiece. Like James Wilson, Rhona's music is somewhat understated
. She has a good understanding of the voice.
She has written two Glorias, Missa for the Dublin Secondary School
Girls Choir, which was premiered in January 2000 (good piece too), piano
and chamber music, film music and electronic music. These songs are well
conceived and very appealing in the way of modern song. There is substance
in these songs.
John McLachlan was born in Dublin in 1964 and has specialised in studying
compositional techniques of the 1950s and 1960s. The Two Lyric Sketches
are, in effect, another string quartet and the composer regards this
as his first mature work. It won the Sligo Composers Competition in 1991.
There is humour and, at first, a robust cello line. It is the slow music
that reveals the lyricism.
The two pieces by Paul Hayes (born Dublin 1951) are miniatures for the piano
and reveal Eastern influences. He has lived in Japan for a while. The first
seems to be isolated long notes and seemingly facile but it does make an
effect. The second is also limited and has little to say.
I enjoyed this disc immensely.