Magazine article Gramophone

Recent Irish Music: Liam Cagney Chooses 10 Pieces Connected with Ireland's Recent History

Magazine article Gramophone

Recent Irish Music: Liam Cagney Chooses 10 Pieces Connected with Ireland's Recent History

Article excerpt

This year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, the rebellion that led to the founding of the Irish State. Commemorations are duly filling the cultural calendar. My playlist salutes the range and vibrancy of music coming from this small island in recent years.

Donnacha Dennehy's That the Night Come sets lyric poetry by WB Yeats to exquisite effect. In Am Koppenplatz, Garrett Sholdice, one of the most talented of the youngest Irish generation, evokes a quiet moment in a Berlin park. Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest, by turns zany, lambent and melancholy, shows an opera composer at the peak of his strength. Kevin Volans, though bom in South Africa, has been an Irish citizen since the 1990s, and his White Man Sleeps pulsates with dance rhythms. Raymond Deane's Ripieno, named after a term from Baroque music, invokes tradition while sidestepping pastiche. Grainne Mulvey's Etude No 1 creates drama from technical prowess.

As you'd expect, Irish composers continue to draw inspiration from Irish literature: Jane O'Leary's riverrun at once references James Joyce and the flow of Dublin's river Liffey; Frank Corcoran, here represented by the lugubrious opening movement of his Symphony No 3, also closely engages with Joyce; while John Buckley's The Silver Apples of the Moon, the Golden Apples of the Sun is inspired by Yeats's poetry. …

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