Author Topic: Irish Composers  (Read 10835 times)

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Offline Lethevich

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Irish Composers
« on: January 31, 2010, 06:31:03 AM »
Making a thread on this chap would be futile, so this could be a good place for reviews and the like.



This is quite cool music of the type that can't decide whether to commit to tonality or atonality - a condition which was quite common amongst Brits who were jarringly yanked from Vaughan Williams to post-war serialism within the space of a decade or two. The organ concerto is in this idiom - bumps and crashes without really having a point to make, but it does create a wonderfully BIG sound, and the large meditative adagio (far longer than the opening and closing movements combined) is interesting. Overall the style is comparable to English composer Peter Dickinson, who conveniently also wrote an organ concerto in this idiom (Bate/EMI).

The symphony is better - quieter, with more emotions on display, but tempered away from standard Romanticism by those pungent and eerie atonal harmonies which none the less are employed in ways which imply tonal logic rather than extended-tonality claps and whistles. It's an impressive work, but structurally I haven't graped it let (it's in two large unlabeled movements which are much the same in length and mood). An example of its dichotomies would be halfway through the second movement where tonally ambiguous whispering (think RVW 6 but less minimal) are bridged by a trumpet into a tonal chorale-like section. It's very effective, but doesn't really go anywhere - immediately returning to that hushed state.

Threads already on GMG about other Irish composers:

Victor Herbert (1859–1924)
Archibald James Potter (1918–80)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 06:40:31 AM by Lethe »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 06:35:42 AM »
Looks like an interesting CD, which I'll look out for - thanks for posting.  If you want to move A J Potter into this thread that's fine by me. Will post on John Kinsella later but have now been ordered out on 'healthy' country walk  ::)

ps added later. Found this CD for £4.50 (new) on Amazon UK - so have ordered it. The VW No 6 connection made me curious.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 06:39:31 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 06:39:25 AM »
I hope that AJP will justify his own thread :) I'll link the other two Irish composer threads in the first post.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 06:40:25 AM »
I hope that AJP will justify his own thread :) I'll link the other two Irish composer threads in the first post.

OK (see above) have now ordered the Buckley CD.
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 07:00:21 AM »
Coolie! I am always nervous when people follow my recommendations after one person had a terrible reaction to something I said was good :D

I actually seem to have the AJ Potter album you mentioned - I feel that I may have seeked it out after a previous recommendation on this forum. I'll give it a listen later.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 07:05:32 AM »
Coolie! I am always nervous when people follow my recommendations after one person had a terrible reaction to something I said was good :D

Yes, and I shall be holding you personally responsible if it's a disaster  >:(

Not really, I'm sure that there are those here who have regretted buying CDs by obscure composers whom I've raved about - but I hope that it encouraged you to give A J Potter another listen and that Sarge does not regret the purchase either.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 08:21:18 AM »
Well, the Irish composer that I have the most CDs is John Field (1782-1837), born in Dublin, but died in Moscow; founder of the piano nocturne (may have a thread on that subject?); like Chopin, his compositions are largely limited to the piano w/ nocturnes, sonatas, concertos, et al.  WIKI Article HERE, for those interested.

My current collection below (w/ the Complete Nocturnes by O'Rourke on the way!):

 

 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2010, 02:04:51 AM »
This is a lovely CD. As well as the Potter work mentioned on his thread I'd strongly recommend 'Introspect' by Paidrig O'Connor (born 1942), a hauntingly beautiful work.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2010, 02:24:25 PM »
I've been listening again to 'Introspect' by Padraig Potter (see above) - it occurs to me that if you like Elgar's 'Sospiri' you should really like this hauntingly beautiful work.
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Offline some guy

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2010, 10:21:15 PM »
I know two Irish composers pretty well, Frank Corcoran and Grainne Mulvey. That is, I know two Irish composers music pretty well. I only know one of them personally.

Anyhoo, both of these people are pretty good. They've both written for acoustic instruments and for fixed media electroacoustics. Frank has a disc out that has three of his symphonies on it, which are all short and very sweet. And by sweet I mean good, not "pretty." There's a lot of Varese in Corcoran's heart and ears, and occasionally that comes out in his music. Grainne is, well, just Grainne. Very tight--wild but controlled (which really accentuates the wildness).

One disc of hers that I have, with Akanos on it, which I heard in Vilnius in 2008, has a bunch of other Irish composers, too. Acoustic and electroacoustic. Amazon doesn't have that disc. I think you may have to get it directly from the Contemporary Music Centre in Dublin.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2010, 08:12:52 AM »
Here are two great works IMHO - if you like Tubin or Lilburn you should like these.  Symphony No 3 is terrific, both powerful, dynamic and moving - Symphony No 4 has a great 'prevailing wind' motto theme (it is a symphonic portrait of the provinces of Ireland in the order they are hit by the prevailing wind).  The CD is now dirt cheap on Amazon UK (c £3.00). He sent me a delightful reply to my fan letter.
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Offline some guy

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2010, 11:33:53 AM »
I just went to the Contemporary Music Centre site. It's a great resource for new Irish music.

I have only one of their CDs (so far!), the one with Grainne's Akanos on it. It also contains Greg Caffrey, Karen Power, Paul Wilson, Gordon Delap, Piers Hellawell, Benjamin Dyer, David Flynn, Scott McLaughlin, Kevin O'Connell, and the other Irish composer I know pretty well, Roger Doyle. (Sorry I forgot him when I was making my previous list of two!)

And that's just one CD, volume 7. There's a lot of music being made in Ireland these days. And each composer is quite different from the rest, always a healthy sign, I think.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2012, 02:55:34 PM »
I have expressed on previous occasions my admiration for the work of A.J. Potter and John Kinsella, at least the symphonies of Kinsella I know so far. I join with Jeffrey in commending the Kinsella Nos. 3 and 4 on Marco Polo and also the recent RTE Lyric release of Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7 :)

But the Irish symphony which has rocketed to the top of my list of favourites is Seorise Bodley's Symphony No.2 "I have loved the lands of Ireland"-on another RTE Lyric cd coupled with Symphony No.1 for Chamber Orchestra. This is quite the most magnificent symphony I have heard for a long time, a quite gorgeous combination of limpidly serene beauty and exciting energy. Bodley is now 78 years old. He obtained his doctorate from the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart and taught at University College, Dublin. His influences include Gaelic folk music, the Darmstadt avant-garde and post-serial modernism. I already knew Bodley's Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 from a Marco Polo cd but the Second has totally and completely captivated me. I simply cannot stop playing it :D :D

If you like Potter and Kinsella the Bodley will come as a revelation :)

Online Christo

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 03:04:51 PM »
I simply cannot stop playing it

Enough recommendation for me. I'll buy a copy if i can find it.  :-X
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 03:05:49 PM »
I have expressed on previous occasions my admiration for the work of A.J. Potter and John Kinsella, at least the symphonies of Kinsella I know so far. I join with Jeffrey in commending the Kinsella Nos. 3 and 4 on Marco Polo and also the recent RTE Lyric release of Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7 :)

But the Irish symphony which has rocketed to the top of my list of favourites is Seorise Bodley's Symphony No.2 "I have loved the lands of Ireland"-on another RTE Lyric cd coupled with Symphony No.1 for Chamber Orchestra. This is quite the most magnificent symphony I have heard for a long time, a quite gorgeous combination of limpidly serene beauty and exciting energy. Bodley is now 78 years old. He obtained his doctorate from the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart and taught at University College, Dublin. His influences include Gaelic folk music, the Darmstadt avant-garde and post-serial modernism. I already knew Bodley's Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 from a Marco Polo cd but the Second has totally and completely captivated me. I simply cannot stop playing it :D :D

If you like Potter and Kinsella the Bodley will come as a revelation :)

Another drain on my bank balance Colin - but thanks anyway!  :D
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2012, 03:39:45 PM »
Here's the possible clincher for both of you ;D

I was playing the Bodley tonight when a friend dropped in for a coffee. He said "sounds like Braga Santos to me" ;D ;D

Now, I don't really think it does....more gorgeous folk-melody with Waltonian exuberance but it showed me that he (relatively unmusical) liked it at once :)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 03:43:23 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline some guy

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2012, 05:36:53 PM »
Ya know, I needed a wee giggle, and revisiting this thread has given it to me.

You know, the feeling you get when you enter a room where there's a conversation going on, on a topic you enjoy. Someone says this, someone else says that, another person says something else, all very nice, then you say something, then the people in the room continue their conversation as if you didn't exist, as if you'd never said anything. You say one more thing, but really, no one cares, no one wants to hear about Corcoran, damn it! The Buckleys and Bodleys only need apply, as it were!!

Anyway, fun times. :)

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2012, 06:01:46 PM »
I Youtubed Mulvey at time of your mention and didn't like her music. I don't know what you expect: you have problems if we don't mention it, but if I said "I heard this and didn't particularly like it" your end-point won't change in the least; when you recommend things to people it feels as though it's not about getting people into music, it's about making fun of them.
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Offline some guy

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2012, 06:25:45 PM »
[W]hen you recommend things to people it feels as though it's not about getting people into music, it's about making fun of them.
Yes, of course that's how it is. Must be. I don't really like music.*

Here's a thread on "Irish Composers."

But it's not really a thread on Irish composers, is it? It's a thread on certain kinds of Irish composers. The other Irish need not apply. In fact, the other Irish don't even exist!!

I can either mock that situation or I can weep. This time I went for mockery. This time.

Anyway, when you youtube something next time and don't like it, say so. Maybe a dialog will come out of that.

Or you can go back to your little clique where everyone likes the same (kinds of) things and does not make eye contact! Either way, someone will have some kind of fun, eh?

*In case anyone wants to use this later against me, I should point out that this is sarcasm. If you use it without acknowledging that, you will be fined 10,000 virtual units of cyber money. :-*

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Irish Composers
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2012, 07:06:30 PM »
Sorry for doing the huge wall of quotes thing - I don't want this to turn into something acrimonious as similar-layout messages in threads about politics/religion, etc become, but the splitting is for clarity not nitpicking.

Yes, of course that's how it is. Must be. I don't really like music.*

It's not that you "don't like" what you suggest - it is that you seem to have a habit of recommending things that you seem to know that the people you suggest them to will not like, seemingly both to prove a point to yourself about how terrible the taste of everybody else is, but also seemingly to punish them by wasting their time. Case in point, recommending harsh sounding electroacoustic music to people wanting something "uplifting" knowing that they very likely won't agree.

This example doesn't apply to the composers you mentioned in this thread, but the end result is the same - the feigned bemusement that a lot of the forum who do not listen to much of the style you like don't really want to talk about it. It takes two interested parties to have a conversation, and it can't be forced.

Here's a thread on "Irish Composers."

But it's not really a thread on Irish composers, is it? It's a thread on certain kinds of Irish composers. The other Irish need not apply. In fact, the other Irish don't even exist!!

It's a thread on Irish composers that people want to talk about.  I won't tell people what to discuss,* and I will tend to talk about what I like. If people who like different things wish to discuss them in the same thread, who cares? I hope you find some. But to object that people aren't indulging you enough is what I have a problem with, and IMO isn't making it easier to take recs from your posts. The more easy-going a person is about music I find difficult, the more easy it seems to eventually give it a try, and the forum has had nice discussions about contemporary composers (from people like Edward, Bruce, UB, Petrarch, etc) which I have taken a lot from - but, then the concern that they are talking about the wrong kind of composers for you might raise its head. It is like tip-toeing through a minefield where what is the worthy music is only known by you.

*I admit that it might seem that my choice of composer to open the post may set the tone, but even if I was really into contemporary Irish music, the composers who would be mentioned after would not have changed - Potter has a disc that had already attracted the attention of several forum members, John Field is ever-popular, etc. I didn't respond to the Field post because I'm not so interested in the music, and I treated your post in the same way not expecting that to be a problem.

Anyway, when you youtube something next time and don't like it, say so. Maybe a dialog will come out of that.

You don't make it easy, that is kind of my point. Although it's not just that - I've been happily making steps into the unknown for years because of recs from this forum, but what I perceive to be your core listening is a bit further away than where I am from atm. An example, I do kind of like one contemporary Irish composer, Donnacha Dennehy (the recent Nonesuch disc) - but once again, it comes back to him not fitting into your "acceptable" aesthetic (his music is somewhat new-age in inspiration).

Or you can go back to your little clique where everyone likes the same (kinds of) things and does not make eye contact! Either way, someone will have some kind of fun, eh?

This is kinda rude, it is equally easy to characterise your own opinions as cliquey, but I would rather just consider them a strong POV.
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