Lending me your ears

Oh, it’s been far too long! Apologies.

I entered the Séan O’Ríada competition that is run by the Cork Choral Festival. Sadly I didn’t win – a guy called Simon MacHale did, and I’m looking forward to hearing his piece next week at the National Chamber Choir’s festival gig. It was great working to the deadline, although I didn’t finish the piece entirely to my satisfaction. There’s one line that I think needs completely reworking and my choir director told me it was hard, so I must think a bit more about it and draft another version.

The rules were that the piece had to be for SATB with a small amount of divisi permitted. The text also had to be Irish, preferably. I found a great poem by James Joyce (whose poetry I didn’t know at all) called ‘I Hear An Army’ and fell in love with it, despite being warned that permission to use Joyce’s work is hard to get. I actually still haven’t heard back from the copyright holder…fingers crossed. I think it comes out of copyright in six years anyway, by which time I *might* be happy with the piece! My composition professor in university, Nigel Osborne, encouraged me to use comtemporary poets’ work but there is something to be said for not having to worry about copyright. Assuming the publisher/poet is nice, though, it’s still nothing to be put off by, really. You’ll probably have to pay a bit to use the text and write emails and talk to people, but that helps one feel like a proper composer. Which is half the battle.

Two videos to finish. I have to return some instruments that I borrowed for some ‘Introduction to Musical Instruments’ sessions I did the other day for some lovely kids in Chapelizod. I brought along my piano (“…but you said it was a keyboard…” “Yes, yes, you’re right, it *is* a keyboard. It sounds like a piano, though, doesn’t it?” “Sort of…”), guitar, clarinet, drum, shaker, some violins, some chime bars, some lovely bass chime bars and we had a marvellous time playing all those and talking about them and all the other, far more interesting things that they thought of that second. Kids are great 🙂

First video is of Conor O’Brien (whose band, Villagers, are about to release their debut album) singing on Jools Holland. I think he’s a very very good performer and songwriter. I saw him play a solo set last summer and I was hooked. Enjoy 🙂

Second video is of the lovely Kristin Chenoweth singing ‘The Girl in 14G’. I was rehearsing this song with Suzanne McDonnell for her recital on Tuesday week. Fun piece and another great performance. Quick gripe: the recital may have to be in the afternoon, not the evening as it has been in previous years. Why? Because of the work-to-rule that the unionised university employees are following. It means that family and friends don’t get to come and the students play to an empty hall. Brilliant.

Anyway, enjoy the song!

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