The Cork International Choral Festival has a long-standing commitment to foster awareness and appreciation of new choral music. With this in mind a seminar was initiated in 1962 as part of the Festival programme by the late Aloys Fleischmann, Professor of Music at University College Cork, as being central to this purpose. The Festival presents the 46th edition of the Seminar on New Choral Music as a joint collaboration with Chamber Choir Ireland, our choir in residence. To date, 132 works from 109 Irish and international composers have been commissioned.
The Seminar on New Choral Music maintains its initial purpose of commissioning new works to provide a platform for, and to encourage the composition, and performance of new choral music in Ireland, and to support their inclusion, and that of other new music, onto the regular repertoire of Irish choirs. In the last few years the Seminar has specifically promoted the commission of new works by Irish composers to develop a wider knowledge of, and understanding of, Irish compositional life. Premiere performances are now integrated into a full concert programme by Chamber Choir Ireland. The present style of presentation makes the seminar very accessible to all, and assists in making current practice in the performance of new choral music accessible to the wider choral sector in Ireland.
This year will see two new works featured, and given their world premieres in Cork; “Letter to Michael” by composer David Fennessy and “Solomon Grundy” by the winner of this year’s Seán Ó Riada Competition, Donal Mac Erlaine. The Seán Ó Riada Competition was initiated in 1972 in recognition of the creative life and work of Seán Ó Riada. It is a composition competition which invites the submission of new works from Irish composers in collaboration between the Cork International Choral Festival and Chamber Choir Ireland. This year the competition received entries from 30 Irish composers, maintaining the high entry level of the past four years. We are delighted to welcome both composers to Cork to take part in the Seminar.
Without the financial support of the Arts Council in making the commission of David Fennessy possible, and of the Ó Riada Family for its generous support of the Seán Ó Riada Competition, this seminar would not be in a position to continue to fulfil its important role in promoting the work of Irish composers and encouraging the composition of new choral music.
I welcome Rhona Clarke, a highly regarded composer in her own right and a great friend of the Festival, as Seminar Chairperson, and thank Majella Hollywood, Chief Executive of the CCI, for her commitment to continue the involvement of Chamber Choir Ireland in this project.
This year’s Seminar Programme will also feature (a) a most interesting talk by Coral O’Sullivan on the history of the Festival’s Seminars. Titled From Archer to Zuk – Fifty Years of the Cork International Choral Festival Seminars, it will detail, in a multi-faceted manner, the exhaustive research Carol has completed for her MA thesis, and (b) a Performance Reading Session with Chamber Choir Ireland, of works by Seán Doherty and Sam Perkin, selected by the Seán Ó Riada Assessment Panel. Finally, I would direct your attention to the full collection of Seminar scores now housed in the Cork City Music Library and available for consultation. General information on the Seminar, including digitised pages of scores, is now also available for perusal on the Library website. I would like to publicly thank Kitty Buckley, Executive Librarian, for all her dedicated and committed work in following through on the completion of this archive.
Artistic and Festival Director
Both new compositions will receive their world premieres by Chamber Choir Ireland in their Festival Concert.
Letter to Michael
For SATB Choir
Composer: David Fennessy
A few years ago I came across an extraordinary image by a woman named Emma Hauck (1878-1920). It was of a page of text written so densely in pencil that it was almost completely black and more or less illegible. Hauck was a patient in the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidleberg and in the summer of 1909 wrote many similar pages in the form of letters to her husband Michael, begging him to come and collect her. The text consists simply of the phrase ‘Herzenschatzi Komm’ (Sweetheart come) written over and over again, many hundreds of times or simply ‘Komm’ (Come). It seems the letters were never sent and her pleas were left unheard.
David Fennessy, March 2014
David Fennessy (b. 1976 Maynooth) began his musical life as guitarist in a school rock band but had no formal musical training until the age of fifteen when he decided to study classical guitar. He became interested in composition whilst studying for his undergraduate degree at the Dublin College of Music. In 1998 Fennessy moved to Glasgow to study for his Masters Degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with James MacMillan. He was later invited to join the composition faculty and has held a teaching post there since 2005.
His music has been performed nationally and internationally by many groups including the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Hebrides Ensemble and London Sinfonietta.
Recent significant works include Pass the Spoon, an evening length music theatre collaboration with the English visual artist David Shrigley and Haupstimme, a work for solo viola and ensemble premiered by Garth Knox with Rednote Ensemble at last year’s Huddersfield Festival. Since 2012 he has been working on a trilogy of large scale works based on the diaries of the German film director Werner Herzog written during the production of the 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo.
His music is published by Universal Edition (Vienna)
Rhona Clarke was born in Dublin. She studied music at University College, Dublin, and completed a Ph.D. at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is a lecturer in music at St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University. Her output includes choral, chamber, orchestral and electronic works. She has received commissions from RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Cork International Choral Festival, Concorde, Music Network and the National Concert Hall, among others. Her work has been performed and broadcast throughout Ireland and worldwide.
Recent works include SHIFT for orchestra (2013), which received its premiere in the Horizons series at the National Concert Hall, performed by The RTÉNSO conducted by Gavin Maloney, and a newly commissioned work in collaboration with visual artist Marie Hanlon for Concorde, performed at the RHA Gallery, Dublin. From July- September 2014 her work will feature alongside Hanlon’s in a two-person exhibition at Draoícht Arts Centre. Rhona Clarke is a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists.
The Seminars on Contemporary Choral Music of the Cork International Choral Festival have generated a significant platform for the development of choral composition in Ireland. During the 50-year period from 1962 to 2012, 128 works from 105 Irish and international composers were commissioned for the 44 Seminars. These compositions reflect the development of choral composition and performance, both nationally and internationally, through the provision of an opportunity for creative freedom, enlightened debate, and performer and audience development. Until recently, the Seminar scores were held in several locations and were not comprehensively catalogued or indexed. They have now found a permanent home in the Music Section of the Cork City Library. This presentation, highlighting the content of Coral O’Sullivan’s MA Thesis, examines the context for the origination of this corpus of material, discusses the generation of the annotated catalogue of the collection, and presents an overview of the Seminar compositions. The talk also includes a summary of compositional issues, musical styles and vocal techniques which feature in the Seminar works, and concludes with an outline of the current role of the Seminars. This talk is presented as part of this year’s 46th Seminar on New Choral Music.
Coral O’Sullivan is a Law Graduate of University College Cork, later graduating with a B Mus. and an M.A. from CIT Cork School of Music, where she lectures in Oboe. She also teaches Oboe with the County Cork School of Music. Coral is a Librarian with the Cork County Library and Arts Service, and is an active free-lance musician.
Seminar Activity Schedule
Following Fleischmann’s retirement in 1987 as Director of the Festival, the format of the Seminar changed, and after undergoing a number of further transformations, it was temporarily suspended in 2004. In 2008, a revitalized version of the Seminar of Contemporary Choral Music was reintroduced into the Festival’s calendar of events.
|Bäck, Sven-Erik||The naming of cats||1981|
|Badings, Henk||Cinq poèmes chinois||1973|
|Barra, Séamas de||Magnificat||1983|
|Barra, Séamas de||Song of Pan||1989|
|Barry, Gerald||The Coming of Winter||1997|
|Barry, Gerald||Long Time||2012|
|Bassett, Leslie||A ring of emeralds||1979|
|Beaumont, Adrian||In paradisum||1979|
|Beckerath, Alfred von||Oratio Sancti Augustini||1970|
|Bodley, Seóirse||Trí aortha||1963|
|Bodley, Seóirse||The radiant moment||1979|
|Böhlke, Eric||Gebet des Franz von Assisi||1971|
|Bourgeois, Derek||A Tail of Two Fishes||1989|
|Bose, Hans-Jurgen von||Four madrigals||1986|
|Boydell, Brian||Come sleep & I loved a lass||1964|
|Boydell, Brian||Mouth music||1974|
|Bromhead, Jerome de||Joy||1982|
|Buckley, John||Scél lem duíb||1981|
|Buckley, John||He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven||1996|
|Carlile, Solfa *||Upon the Rose||2013|
|Clarke, Rhona||Rorate Caeli||1994|
|Clarke, Rhona||The Kiss||2008|
|Cleary, Siobhan||Theophilus Thistle and the Myth of Miss Muffett||2011|
|Connolly, Patrick *||Geimhridh||2011|
|Corcoran, Frank||Symphonies for voices||1975|
|Corcoran, Frank *||Two Unholy Haikus||2012|
|Cox, David Harold||Song of The Paving Stones||1996|
|Csemiczky, Miklos||Two Motets:||1997|
|·||Ave Regina Caelorum||·|
|·||Hodie Christus Natus Est||·|
|Cruft, Adrian||Medieval prayer||1976|
|Deane, Raymond||..e mi sovvien l’eterno||1988|
|Dickinson, Peter||Three Carols:||1998|
|Dickinson, Peter||Christmas Is Coming||·|
|·||For the Nativity||·|
|·||O Christmas Time,O Hateful Time|
|Eben, Petr||De circuitu aeterno||1991|
|Eben, Petr||Rhythmus de gaudiis Paradisi||1996|
|Farrell, Eibhlís||Exaudi voces||1992|
|Fleischmann, Aloys||Poet in the suburbs||1974|
|Forbes, Sebastian||Seasonal roundelay||1984|
|Fritschel, James||Four about life and death||1976|
|Fritschel, James||Lament of a man for his son||1980|
|Gardner, John||Five philanders||1975|
|Gardner, John||Four part-songs to poems by Robert Herrick||1992|
|Geary, Bernard||The trumpet||1984|
|Genzmer, Harald||Irische Harfe||1966|
|Hamel, Peter Michael||Dona nobis pacem||1985|
|Hamilton, Andrew||Everything is Ridiculous||2009|
|Holmboe, Vagn||Song at sunset||1979|
|Holohan, Michael||Quis est Deus?||2002|
|Howells, Herbert||The summer is coming||1965|
|Iannaccone, Anthony||A Walt Whitman madrigal||1985|
|Josephs, Wilfred||Spring songs||1981|
|Joubert, John||Three portraits||1983|
|Kelemen, Milko||Drei Irischen Volkslieder||1980|
|Kelly, Bryan||Dover Beach||1995|
|Kinsella, John||Three children’s songs||1977|
|Kocsár, Miklós||Six choruses||1982|
|Kyllönen, Timo-Juhani||Innisfree Op. 33||1994|
|Leeuw, Ton de||The birth of music||1976|
|LeFanu, Nicola||On The Wind-a lament||1997|
|MacHale, Simon *||With Heart and Soul and Voice||2010|
|Prayer before birth||1972|
|Mäntyjärvi, Jaakko||Psalm 150 in Kent Treble Bob Minor||1999|
|Martin, Philip||Three Gaelic lyrics||1985|
|Martinez, Odaline de la||Two American Madrigals||1978|
|Mathias, William||A May Magnificat||1978|
|Maw, Nicholas||Five Irish songs||1973|
|Mawby, Colin||Nonsense for gombeens||1991|
|Mawby, Colin||In Memoriam Aloys Fleischmann||1994|
|McGlynn, Michael||When the War is Over||1999|
|Mellers, Wilfred||Cloud Canticle||1971|
|Mulvey, Gráinne||Stabat Mater||2003|
|Ó Riada, Seán||Ceathramhaintí Éagsamhla||1962|
|Ó Súilleabháin, Mícheál||Maranatha||2000|
|O’Regan, Tarik||The Spring||2008|
|Panufnik, Roxanna||Two Poems by Wendy||2010|
|Peeters, Flor||When God the Lord||1963|
|Potter, Archie||Ten epigrams||1969|
|Purser, John||Love in season||1976|
|Reutter, Hermann||Tres laudes||1964|
|Rubbra, Edmund||Tenebrae: Third Nocturne||1962|
|Rubbra, Edmund||Three Greek Folk-Songs||1977|
|Schürmann, Gerard||Summer is coming||1970|
|Searle, Humphrey||The canticle of the rose||1966|
|Tanev, Alexander||Guslar mí gusli||1978|
|Thomas, Adrian||Man mai longe lives weene||1988|
|Tucapsky, Antonín||Veni, Sancte Spiritus||1986|
|Victory, Gerard||Trois chansons de Verlaine||1978|
|Victory, Gerard||A musical instrument||1993|
|Viñao, Ezequiel||Beowulf: Scyld’s Burial||2009|
|Vlad, Roman||Lettura di Michelangelo||1966|
|Vlad, Roman||Lettura del Magnifico||1974|
|Walton, William||Cantico del sole||1974|
|Warren, Raymond||There is a time||1970|
|Wellesz, Egon||Laus nocturna||1963|
|Wilson, James||Keats on Keats||1993|
|Zimmermann, Heinz||Make a joyful noise||1965|
|Zuk, Patrick||An das Angesicht des Herrn Jesu||1998|