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RTÉ NSO: Farrell, Buckley & Shaw

David Brophy conducts the world premieres of two new RTÉ NSO commissions by Anne-Marie O'Farrell and Irene Buckley. 

Friday 23rd April



RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra 

David Brophy, conductor 

Irene Buckley Awakening (RTÉ NSO Commission) 

Caroline Shaw Entr'acte 

Anne-Marie O'Farrell Eitilt (RTÉ NSO Commission) 

David Brophy conducts the world premieres of two new RTÉ NSO commissions by Anne-Marie O'Farrell and Irene Buckley. The programme will also include a performance of Caroline Shaw's 'Entr'acte' in the version for string orchestra. 

Irene Buckley Awakening 

Awakening reflects the wondrous transition from the stasis of winter to the rebirth of spring. Humanity experienced a heightened sense of stasis during this past winter, where our daily lives became quite fixed and unchanging, almost suspended in time… We held our breath and waited. This work evokes the sense of transformation and unveiling using dense layered textures to convey the vast expanse of the natural world; the opening up and revealing of new growth, the springing forth of new life. Darkness emerging into light. 

Caroline Shaw Entr'acte 

Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw is one of the most approachable and exciting of young American composers. Entr’acte takes us through Alice’s looking glass into what Shaw describes as ‘a kind of absurd, subtle, Technicolor’ world. It’s an intricate, beautifully crafted piece of ever-changing contours and jewel-like colours lit up by folk music textures and orchestral splendour. 

Anne-Marie O'Farrell Eitilt 

Eitilt was commissioned by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. The title means flight or airborne, - air being the carrier of sound, and as wind, it is also a metaphor for inspiration. It is in five movements, and contains many musical elements inherited from Irish musical tradition. Some of these are newly composed, while others directly reference well-known Irish songs and anthems. There are associations with moments of national sentiment, as well as glimpses of audioscape from Ireland’s national broadcaster. Universal themes of joy, grief, and the preciousness of children are mirrored in Ireland’s trinity of song forms, the suantraí (lullaby), goltraí (lament) and geantraí (invigorating music), all of which are represented here. The suantraí of the fourth movement is paired with a hymn, suggesting the distortion of religion for authoritarian ends, sadly common in the Ireland of the last hundred years. The legacy of our national instrument, the harp, is glimpsed in melodic contours of the finale movement. A range of compositional techniques enables the creation of pitch and rhythmic systems, enhanced by occasional use of extended techniques to further enlarge the palette of colours. There are many instrumental solos throughout, to showcase the outstanding individual artistry of the musicians of Ireland’s National Symphony Orchestra, and to reflect the soloistic origins of many of the musical ideas in the work.

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