Great Music in Irish Houses Festival

Concert 1: Freemason's Hall, Dublin
9 June 2016
Concert 1: GPO, Dublin
12 June 2016

In 2016, Chamber Choir Ireland is delighted to partner with the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival where we present two contrasting concerts from the old and new worlds.

Concert 1: Minimal Roots…and a few green branches! 

(Thursday 9th June, Freemason’s Hall, Dublin)

With conductor, Paul Hillier, Chamber Choir Ireland explores the ironically varied world of minimalistic ‘choral’ music.  From the earliest experimental forays into spoken choruses from Ernst Toch (translated and extolled by John Cage), through some of minimalism’s founding exponents (Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich) and onward to composers influenced by, or exploring features of minimalism (David Lang, Tarik O’Regan)…extending out to a few green branches!  This concert features two European premieres – David Lang’s Where you go and Terry Riley’s Madrigal and is bound by a common feature – American composers and composers who have lived there.

Concert 2: Music To Hear, Why Hear’st Thou Music Sadly?

(Sunday 12th June, GPO, Dublin)

As part of Chamber Choir Ireland’s ‘Remembering in 2016’ series of programmes, we present a programme celebrating Shakespeare for the 400th anniversary of his death in a journey through the worlds of Macbeth, Twelfth Night & The Tempest,  including a new setting of the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet by Finnish composer, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi.

We also mark a significant milestone in the history of the Irish state commemorating the Rising of Easter 1916 and are delighted to present this performance at the heart of the site of the Rising, Dublin’s GPO.  With Cork International Choral Festival, we have commissioned Belfast-born composer, Stephen McNeff, and Irish poet, Aoife Mannix, to write a new piece of text and music reflecting on the rising.  In Stephen’s words:

“When I was growing up in Wales my parents – both from the North of Ireland – used to refer to the ‘Free State’.  My mother never referred to Ireland as anything other than ’home’.  Like many of the Irish diaspora, I was acutely aware of the troubled nature of Ireland’s coming into being as a republic and the inherited responsibility of understanding the past and the sacrifices made to reach that goal.  On my trips back to my birthplace in Belfast I tried to gain a better understanding of my heritage, but it is only really now when a centenary focuses thoughts that I have taken to music to essay into the past and reflect on the tumultuous events of 1916.  Paradoxically, Aoife Mannix and I have arrived at our objective obliquely by starting the summer before Easter 1916 where, in the West of Ireland, Padraig Pearse was in retreat, teaching, writing and thinking.  For a rebellion at least partly inspired by poetry and a deep awareness of history, this approach was right for us.  It also allows us to expand our thoughts into a wider world and the influence and profound awe of the country and elements that is never far from the mind of anyone who has ever witnessed the harsh beauty of that landscape.”

The new work, A Half Darkness will be premiered at the Cork International Choral Festival on Friday 29th April 2016.

Concert 1: Minimal Roots
ear for EARJohn Cage
Spoken MusicErnst Toch
StoryJohn Cage
Where you goDavid Lang
European Premiere
Three SongsPhilip Glass
Scattered RhymesTarik O'Regan
MadrigalTerry Riley
European Premiere
Clapping MusicSteve Reich
Concert 2: Music to Hear...
Prologue to Romeo & JulietJaakko Mäntyjärvi
from Macbeth
When shall we three meet again?Samuel Webbe
The Raven himself is hoarseKaren Rehnqvist
Double double toil and troubleJaakko Mäntyjärvi
Zu Potsdam unter den EichenKurt Weill
Die Legende vom toten SoldatenKurt Weill
Songs for Ariel, from 'The Tempest'Frank Martin
A Half DarknessStephen McNeff, Text: Aoife Mannix
Come away, deathJaakko Mäntyjärvi
No More Shakespeare SongsJaakko Mäntyjärvi
Chamber Choir Ireland
Paul HillierConductor