Welcome to the first in State’s regular round-up of contemporary and classical music. Every fortnight this column will bring you news, previews and reviews from the classical world, with a slight leaning towards brand new works, exciting new composers and the best in Ireland’s classical performances. This first installment is a bumper pack of upcoming gigs, with the next two weeks jammed with innovative new music.
Dublin’s internationally renowned contemporary music group, The Crash Ensemble’s Young Americans takes place on the 25th of November in Liberty Hall. Ever at the forefront of new Irish music, the ensemble are this time bringing the compositions of American composers to an Irish audience, including pieces by Sean Friar, Missy Mazzoli, Ken Ueno and Timothy Andres. The focus of this performance is on a specially commissioned work by Nico Muhly called Drones, Variations, Ornaments. The show will be preceded by a talk with Nico Muhly presented by Lyric FM’s Bernard Clarke.
The Grand Canal Theatre will be host from 23rd-27th November to a lauded run of Verdi’s seminal dramatic opera La Traviata by The Tchaikovsky Perm State Opera of Russia and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. It will be a full-scale production with traditional staging, but with English subtitles, thankfully making the story easy to follow without compromising the music.
Last month Dublin Sound Lab ran a workshop and concert for interactive electronic and mixed media music, Music Current II. The pieces ‘devised’ in the workshop joined compositions by Karlheinz Essl for the evening concert, recordings of which have now gone online at www.dublinsoundlab.ie. The pieces are for “computer controlled mixed ensemble” and are like meandering sound sculptures, continually creating and recreating restrained, even static, sonic environments. Participants of the workshop and concert include Sebastian Adams, David Bremner, Rory Caraher, Jack Glacken, Andrew McGovern and Suzanne Walsh.
On the 23rd, the Irish Composers’ Collective present their November Concert in the Kevin Barry Room of the NCH, featuring the SoundSet Low Trio, part of the 2010-established SoundSet new music ensemble. The concert will feature six works, all premieres, from new Irish composers including Patrick O’Connor, David O’Regan, Solfa Carlile, Francis Heery, Conal Ryan and Anna Murray. The ICC will be running features on the composers involved in the run-up to the concert, so follow on Facebook or Twitter to check out what’s in store. (Declaration of interest – this writer is the Anna Murray featured in the above concert, though regardless would recommend it to hear some exciting new music from the other composers involved)
The November leg of the Dublin Guitar Quartet’s tour features a mix of Irish and international works from Ligeti to Dave Flynn. It’s an eclectic mix of pieces on the programme, but a strong one, especially given the dearth of pieces written for this force. Its focus is heavily minimalist, with Philip Glass, Arvo Part and Steve Reich on the programme, however compositions from Eric Sweeney and Dave Flynn should provide sparks of contrast, and make a compelling gig.
Ergodos, a Dublin-based contemporary music record label and production company run by composers Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Garrett Sholdice, is currently in the studio recording I Call To You. This collection of both new works and arrangements of Bach chorale preludes features Cliodhna Ryan on violin, William Butt on cello, Jonathan Sage on clarinet and pianist Michael McHale, and includes pieces by the Ergodos directors alongside Jonathan Nangle and Simon O’Connor. Release is expected early next year, but I Call To You can be caught in performance in Kilkenny on the 24th.
The Contemporary Music Centre’s regular new music::new Ireland salon series continues on Wednesday the 30th with the Quiet Music Ensemble, playing Susan Geaney’s Vacuum and including an ensemble improvisation. The Quiet Music Ensemble are some of the country’s best innovators, so this casual, open-dialogue evening is a great opportunity to discover something really new. Taking place in the Kevin Barry Room of the NCH.