Thoughts on Crash Ensemble’s Free State VI

Last Friday 1st April the Crash Ensemble performed a new piece of mine, Basso Continuo in the Irish Museum of Modern art (IMMA). This concert for me, was a resounding success for a multiplicity of reasons. Firstly, I was delighted with how my own composition came across, it being expertly performed by the crash ensemble (conducted by Gavin Maloney) with the necessary energy and musical sensitivity it required.

Secondly, the whole concert just worked extremely well due the fantastically conceived programming (each piece gelled really well with its adjacent companion and each pillaring composition supported the whole programme with gothic grace and elegance). This was matched in spades by the superb job done by everyone involved behind the scenes including the sound and lighting crew, the marketing team and those friendly people selling tickets and programmes, insuring a well attended, smooth running and warmly ambient concert.

Finally, this was the first concert I had been to in Ireland for a number of years, and I was immensely impressed by the level of musicianship and compositional integrity that could be heard from each of the composers represented. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it was some of the freshest, stylistically original, emotive, energetic and beautiful music I’ve heard in a long time. Indeed, Andrew Hamilton’s Music for People who Like Art had a profound effect on me, making it seem like oceans ago since I’ve experienced music like this.

I’ve been coming more and more to the realisation (as are many other composers and listeners) that the music coming out of Ireland is some of the most original, beautiful, and profound around at the moment (Despite what one may read in the press). It’s certainly more interesting that the majority of music coming out of the UK and France (of which I have personal experience), and probably many other places too. Maybe the reason for this is that, rather than being concerned with writing for the world’s largest and best known Orchestras and Ensembles and talking about how great one’s music is (as many of the worlds young careering portfolio carrying composer are), young Irish composers seem more concerned with less talking and creating great art themselves, working within their own resources in realising their art (A topic lightly touched upon at CMC’s pre-concert talk). This seeming attitude instantly draws my attention to the dictum ‘say little do much,’ and if the range of talent on display in IMMA last Friday is anything to go by, in the near future Irish composers will have even less to say, because everyone else will be doing the talking.

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