Author Topic: John Kinsella (born 1932)  (Read 11777 times)

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Online vandermolen

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John Kinsella (born 1932)
« on: February 12, 2015, 01:59:30 PM »
Kinsella is my favourite living composer and I think that he deserves his own thread, especially as there has been quite a lot of discussion on the 'British Composers' thread and he is not actually British!  ::); He comes from the Republic of Ireland. The two great Kinsella CDs feature symphonies 3,4,6 and 7. I was initially alerted to him as a Gramophone review compared him with Lilburn and Tubin, whose works I have greatly admired for decades. Thanks to the advocacy of Christo on this forum I have come to admire the wonderful Seventh Symphony, with its occasional echoes of Sibelius's 7th Symphony. It arrives at a moving catharsis and has an urgency and powerful declamatory quality, which is entirely characteristic. The atmosphere stays with you (or with me anyway) and every time I listen to these scores I find more to admire:


"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

cilgwyn

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 03:26:23 AM »
vandermolen...if you have already acquired the Tubin and Vagn Holmboe cycles and are looking for another less well known 20th c symphonist offering similar rewards ie tonal,approachable but also something that you can really get your teeth into (Daniel Jones as opposed to George Lloyd) and might need more than one listen to really fully assimilate (ie late Tubin or later Holmboe) would Kinsella be a composer that should be high on my 'shopping list'.....apart from 'Noah',of course!! ;D


Online vandermolen

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2015, 07:56:53 AM »
vandermolen...if you have already acquired the Tubin and Vagn Holmboe cycles and are looking for another less well known 20th c symphonist offering similar rewards ie tonal,approachable but also something that you can really get your teeth into (Daniel Jones as opposed to George Lloyd) and might need more than one listen to really fully assimilate (ie late Tubin or later Holmboe) would Kinsella be a composer that should be high on my 'shopping list'.....apart from 'Noah',of course!! ;D

cilgwyn, my belief is that Kinsella would have exactly the appeal you describe; especially symphonies 3,4,6 and 7.

Here is a taster of his music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_RBv6P6ejA

« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 07:59:45 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Christo

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2015, 11:26:53 AM »
vandermolen...if you have already acquired the Tubin and Vagn Holmboe cycles and are looking for another less well known 20th c symphonist offering similar rewards ie tonal,approachable but also something that you can really get your teeth into (Daniel Jones as opposed to George Lloyd) and might need more than one listen to really fully assimilate (ie late Tubin or later Holmboe) would Kinsella be a composer that should be high on my 'shopping list'.....apart from 'Noah',of course!! ;D

My belief - it won't come as a big surprise - is exactly the same. Inspired by a short stay in Dublin, this Autumn, I 'discovered' that recently more symphonies had been released on CD. In the late 1990s, many here had come to admire the Third 'Joie de Vivre' (1989/90) and Fourth 'The Four Provinces' (1990/1) for very good reasons.

But only now - with also nos. 5 'The 1916 Poets' (1990/1), 6 (1992/3), 7 for chorus and orchestra (1997), 9 for strings (2004) and 10 for small orchestra (2010) available on new CDs and nos. 1 (1984) and 2 (1988) on Youtube and as mp3 file downloads on the Art-Music Forum - can we see what a great symphonist he actually is. Yes, he can stand comparison with Tubin and Holmboe - my two favourite 'Nordic' composers - and also perhaps Englund, Lilburn, Braga Santos. But is a great personality, standing on his own feet.

Jeffrey is right: Symphonies 3, 4, 6, 7 are his very best, but every other single symphony is highly rewarding as well. BTW, a 2012 thesis on all the symphonies is available online (and very helpful): http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/7313. Otherwise, this overview also helped me explore more (and caused me to buy all available recordings last Novemberr, among them one of the last copies of his Cello Concerto to be found world-wide  :P): http://www.catholic.org/news/ae/music/story.php?id=54749. Enjoy!   :D

… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Cato

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2015, 11:41:15 AM »
Is the last name one of those Castilian names from the survivors of the Spanish Armada?

Many thanks for the information: it is gratifying to see an artist still active in his 70's and 80's!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 11:54:32 AM by Cato »
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Offline Christo

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2015, 11:44:10 AM »
Other CDs with music by John Kinsella (I acquired them all, recently 8)):

Symphony No. 5 'The 1916 Poets' (1991) & Symphony No. 10 (2010):      Symphony No. 9 for strings (2004) and other pieces for String Orchestra:

The Cello Concerto (2000):                                                                          String Quartet No. 3 (1977):
 
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 11:47:43 AM by Christo »
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Christo

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2015, 11:50:18 AM »
I the last name one of those Castilian names from the survivors of the Spanish Armada?

I know little (i.e. nothing) about Irish names, but I noticed that Kinsella is pronounced with the stress (accent) on the first syllable; which makes it sounding competely un-Spanish at least. Does anyone know more about it?

Edit: should have checked first, of course. No, it's definitely a name of Celtic origin, Cinnsealach, later anglicized to Kinsella: http://www.kinsella.org/history/eanna.htm
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 02:46:03 AM by Christo »
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Christo

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2015, 12:12:18 PM »
Another 'Adagio for Strings', actually Kinsella's Nocturne for Cello and String Orchestra (or ‘Nocturne for John’), a revision of the second movement of the Violin Concerto No. 2 (1989):
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/_7lRDwKfMjY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/_7lRDwKfMjY</a>
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2015, 08:10:11 PM »
I'm definitely going to be giving Kinsella a listen. I already own the Marco Polo release (will listen to it soon) and a few nights ago I bought that RTE Lyric recording of Symphonies 6 & 7 and other orchestral works. Looking forward to hearing these. Thanks for this thread, Jeffrey!
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Online vandermolen

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2015, 02:34:55 AM »
I'm definitely going to be giving Kinsella a listen. I already own the Marco Polo release (will listen to it soon) and a few nights ago I bought that RTE Lyric recording of Symphonies 6 & 7 and other orchestral works. Looking forward to hearing these. Thanks for this thread, Jeffrey!

My pleasure John and many thanks to you and the others for the interesting responses - I look forward to hearing your comments on the music. I thought that Johan (Christo) was a likely candidate to respond ( :)) but thought that might be it. I would like to ask Johan which of the CDs he posted above he thinks I would enjoy most as I only have symphonies 3,4,6 and 7 in my collection; although it took me a little while to get into No 7 I now agree that it is possibly (with No 3) the finest of all. Actually I do have one other CD in my collection which features Kinsella's music and that is on one of two promotional CDs 'Contemporary Music from Ireland' issued by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland. When I sent him my fan letter, many years ago, John Kinsella very kindly arranged for those CDs to be sent to me (one of the CDs features none of his music at all). The other features the lovely nine and a half minute 'Nocturne' (a string arrangement from Violin Concerto No. 2), which Johan posted above. It is indeed a beautiful, sad, searching and lyrical work. Coincidentally my brother, a while back, met someone who had worked with John Kinsella at RTE, Dublin and who described him as 'a lovely man'.

PS I have just been listening to the 'Nocturne' and realised that from about seven minutes in I was reminded of the music of another composer and realised it reminded me of one of the searching and lyrical moments in Moisei Weinberg's magnificent 5th Symphony.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 02:56:00 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Rons_talking

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2015, 02:05:56 AM »
It's nice to hear the music of a living composer who composes traditional tonal music without being bland. The Symphony 7 is an original and majestic work. The forms he employs are clever indeed! The RTE recording, however, is a little bottom-heavy with booming percussion. Kinsella is such a melodic composer--not a surprise, I suppose from the land of ethereal folk music. I do wish his harmonies were a little "thicker." Perhaps in some of his other works?

Online vandermolen

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2015, 07:25:22 AM »
It's nice to hear the music of a living composer who composes traditional tonal music without being bland. The Symphony 7 is an original and majestic work. The forms he employs are clever indeed! The RTE recording, however, is a little bottom-heavy with booming percussion. Kinsella is such a melodic composer--not a surprise, I suppose from the land of ethereal folk music. I do wish his harmonies were a little "thicker." Perhaps in some of his other works?

Do you know 3 and 4? Both fine works with great life-affirming energy.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

cilgwyn

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2015, 08:02:10 AM »
Thank you for your replies,vandermolen and Christo (and all the other very interesting contributions here) Kinsella certainly sounds like a composer I should explore. Not yet though. I'm going to give the postman a rest after the recent flood (sorry! ;D) of packages through my letterbox. What with a new camcorder and portable sw communications receiver;I think my wallet needs a rest too!! :( ;D

cilgwyn

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2015, 02:41:37 PM »

Online vandermolen

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2015, 12:28:24 AM »
A review of a Kinsella cd on the Musicweb site:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Feb/Kinsella_sys_TOCC0242.htm

Thanks for this. The writer should listen to symphonies 3 and 4 which are terrific scores.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline André

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2019, 05:56:08 PM »


I listened to this disc 3 times in a row. Kinsella’s music exerts a fascination I rarely find in other contemporary or modern (say, post-1950) composers. Its most salient feature - to my ears and mind anyway - is the powerful sense of organisation underlying the music. From beginning to end, not a note is heard that does not fit into a compelling design.

This is music that unfurls with staggering inevitability until the last chord. I find it quite impossible to listen to it with less than my full attention. It reminds me of the stark music of Jon Leifs, but with more purpose, better channelled ideas, more convincing master plan. Another link might be with Robert Simpson, but more daring and incisive. It’s been years since I last listened to Simpson’s symphonies, though. I should revisit him.

Offline JBS

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2019, 07:35:58 PM »
Crosspost of something I wrote to WAYLT a few days ago.

Second listen to this

Tentative ranking of the Kinsella symphonies I have heard
7
10
6
3
5
With a big gap in front of 5 to signify how much less I liked it.

That leaves 1,2,8, and 9 unheard.

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2019, 07:59:35 PM »


I listened to this disc 3 times in a row. Kinsella’s music exerts a fascination I rarely find in other contemporary or modern (say, post-1950) composers. Its most salient feature - to my ears and mind anyway - is the powerful sense of organisation underlying the music. From beginning to end, not a note is heard that does not fit into a compelling design.

This is music that unfurls with staggering inevitability until the last chord. I find it quite impossible to listen to it with less than my full attention. It reminds me of the stark music of Jon Leifs, but with more purpose, better channelled ideas, more convincing master plan. Another link might be with Robert Simpson, but more daring and incisive. It’s been years since I last listened to Simpson’s symphonies, though. I should revisit him.

A good analysis! I feel the Simpson connection too. Definitely this is music that needs your complete attention, not only for how fascinating it is, but for the development itself.

Online vandermolen

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2019, 12:26:01 AM »
Crosspost of something I wrote to WAYLT a few days ago.

How about No.4?

3,4,6 remain my favourites
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Christo

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Re: John Kinsella (born 1932)
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2019, 02:36:29 AM »
3,4,6 remain my favourites
The correct answer is: 7! How often will you force me to repeat it?  :laugh:
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948