West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Part One

I returned yesterday from the wonderful surroundings of Bantry in West Cork, where I was helping out at the town’s annual Chamber Music Festival. I am still wrecked from attending 35 concerts in 9 days; five concerts nearly every day. I’m away tonight but I’m going to post up some thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind, and outline the important details of what I learned and what I got up to. More detailed posts to come in the days that follow.

I’ll need to run the figures again but I think I heard every string quartet. All of them. Continue reading

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Opera Advice Columns

Dear Bill,

love the blog. I’m writing to you to ask for your help with some girl problems I’ve been having.

I was going to marry this real nice girl my mother adopted. But then I fell in love with this other girl, who works in a factory. I did some prison time because I helped her get off an assault charge when she stabbed one of her coworkers. The day that I get out, I go to meet her, and we have a really great time – but then when I have to leave to go to work, she accuses me of not really loving her, and asks me to run away with her to live on the road. Then my boss shows up and starts flirting with her (and she doesn’t seem to mind). So I fight him, and he kicks my ass, but her dodgy gangster friends distract him and I stab him in the heart.

Then I’ve to go on the run. One day, everyone else is out on business and they leave me guarding the stash house. This guy turns up – he’s the champion bullfighter of Seville – and it turns out he’s been carrying on with my girl! She’s been seeing him behind my back! So I fight him, and he kicks my ass, but her dodgy gangster friends come back just in time to save me for getting murdered. She says she doesn’t want me around any more, and I refuse to go – I’m staying with this girl even if it kills us both, because isn’t that what love is about? But then I hear my mother’s really sick, so I go back home to be with her for a while.

That’s where I am now. I haven’t been in contact with the girl since, but I know they’re all going to a big bullfight in Seville next week. I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll go too, follow her around for a while, and maybe murder her if she won’t take me back. I just don’t know Bill, what should I do?

Yours,
 -Nervous in Navarre

Opera characters need to work on their communication skills.

Kirkos: Rite

I am terribly terribly excited to announce the Kirkos: Rite event!

To celebrate the centenary of Stravinsky’s seminal ballet The Rite of Spring, Kirkos have enlisted 14 of Ireland’s leading professional and student composers. Each one of these titans of modern Irish music has reimagined a section of the Rite for string trio.

The project will be launched in the Odessa Club on the 29th of May; more details will  be announced over the next two weeks but for now, the Dylanesque stylings of Robert Coleman will say it better than I ever could:

December News

Thing the first: I’ve just launched my soundcloud, with two tracks on it at the time of writing and more to be published shortly.

Thing the second: Kirkos concert tomorrow in the Academy, featuring the music of such Kirkos stalwarts as Sebastian Adams, Robert Coleman, Edgar Grunewald and myself; as well as Kirkos newcomers from Trinity College, including my good buddy Galen MacCaba. There will be a total of SIX pieces premiered at this event, including my semi-improvisational Tight Also. If you can’t make it to the performance, or simply can’t wait that long, a recording is available on my soundcloud. Don’t worry about spoilers – the piece is slightly different in each performance! As this is a Kirkos concert, there is also free wine.

My Taste in Terrible Music #6: Malena Ernman

I’m an acknowledged fan of musical fusions, and everyone with any sense knows that mixing the two best musical genres (pop and opera) can only result in good things.

Malena Ernman appears to be a fine singer; I’m by no means an expert judge of these things, but she has sung several operatic roles (she even started before she was thirty!), has an active concert life, and seems to be managing a healthy mix of the operatic and popular music careers. She of course decided to represent her native Sweden in the battle for music’s highest accolade, the Eurovision:

Continue reading