Sunday, November 7, 2010

Must Have Music

Hey ho, what a way to start the week. Brian Eno’s ambient masterpiece Apollo gets a live performance at the NCH on Tue 9 as one of the key events of Science Week. Performed by pioneering classical ensemble Icebreaker with pedal steel guitarist PJ Cole in a special arrangement by composer Jun Lee, this show returns the music to its original concept as a non-narrative counterpart to some amazing Nasa footage from the Apollo space missions, which will be projected during the performance.

The Contemporary Music Centre’s salon series continues with new music::new Ireland, two informal concerts at the NCH’s Kevin Barry Room which sees the ConTempo String Quartet take a second look at works written for them in recent years. The first salon on Wed 10 (6pm) features music by Rhona Clarke and Grainne Mulvey, with both composers in attendance. On Wed 17 they’re joined by guitarist John Feeley for movements from Eric Sweeney’s Concert for Guitar, as well as works by Jennifer Walshe and Jane O’Leary. Admission free, booking advisable.

Something quite different at the Samuel Beckett Theatre on Sat 13. Hadith al Rouh (Conversations of the Soul) is a theatrical concert created by Evangelia Rigaki, newly appointed lecturer in composition at TCD. A variation on the Sufi song by the famous Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum, described as the Maria Callas of Arab Music, Rigaki has recomposed the piece for soprano, ud player and a 12 part male voice choir.

If it’s Sunday it must be the Hugh Lane Gallery for some great free music @ Noon. Cellist Mirian Roycroft and pianist Reamonn Keary get together on Sun 14 for works by Schumann, Barber and Chopin; on Sun 21 the Callino Quartet play string quartets by Haydn and on Sun 28 Polish pianist Slawomir Wilk plays Chopin as part of the Chopin 200 celebrations.

The Irish Baroque Orchestra are at Christ Church Cathedral on Thur 18 with The Three Fiddlers, a celebration of the violin with works by Pachelbel (Canon & Gigue) Bach (Triple Violin Concerto in D), Vivaldi (Concerto for 3 Violins in F) et al.

Resurgam choir have something quite fascinating on offer in Magnificat: Songs of Freedom and Justice, at St Nicholas of Myra Church on Thur 18. At the core of the programme is Giles Swayne’s 1982 setting of the biblical text, written after the composer spent two months in Senegal and the Gambia, which uses a Jola work-song as an opening call and returning motif, juxtaposing and highlighting the radical import of the traditional words. Other settings of the Magnificat, including those by Irish composers Caitríona Ní Dhubhghaill and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly as well as Tavener and Arvo Part, are layered with a selection of South African freedom songs.

John Ruddock’s excellent MLA is back in action at Imma on Sun 21 with an afternoon concert featuring dymanic Czech violinist Ivan Zenaty. He’s joined by pianist Stanislav Boguna for works by Prokofiev, Beethoven, Clara Schumann and Grieg. Tickets €20 at the door.

Wondering what to do on a chilly Monday night? Head for Whelan’s on Mon 22 where the Improvised Music Company present Chris Potter’s Underground, live and kicking from New York. ‘One of the best saxophonists on the planet’ said The Guardian of Potter, who is joined onstage by drummer Nate Smith, Adam Rogers on guitar and Craig Taborn on Fender Rhodes.

There’s some tasty stuff from the RTE Concert Orchestra at the NCH on Wed 24, when they’re joined by ace fiddler Martin Hayes for the world premiere of Dave Flynn’s Aontacht (Unity): A Concerto for Traditional Irish Musician and Orchestra. If that sounds a bit Riverdancey, Flynn has explained his use of the orchestra as some kind of giant accompanying instrument, a mythical combination of Leo Rowsome’s uilleann pipes, Dennis Cahill’s guitar, Steve Reich’s ensemble and Arvo Part’s strings, while the fiddle draws not only on Hayes’ extraordinary musicianship but the inspiration of fiddlers like Tommy Potts Paddy Canny, Paddy Fahey and Ed Reavy. Hayes is joined by Denis Cahill and violinist Brona Cahill, Flynn’s Music for the Departed, there’s orchestral music from Arvo Part, and by way of a nice bit of contrast, a set from Hayes and Cahill.

A new work for the National Chamber Choir created by upcoming young British composer Tarik O’Regan gets its world premiere at St Ann's, Dawson St on Thur 25. Acallam na Senórach /Tales of the Elders is a concert-length chamber piece for 16 singers and guitar soloist (Stewart French), based on the most important medieval text of the Fenian Cycle, which follows the aging Oisín and Caílte as they travel across Ireland with the newly arrived St Patrick. O’Regan’s work has already received numerous awards including two Grammy nominations and his forthcoming opera Heart of Darkness, based on Conrad’s novel, opens in London next year.

November November

What a busy month: the nights may be closing in but that’s no excuse to draw the curtains, light the fire and put up the feet (mm, sounds tempting) – there’s just too much going on out there. Lots of stuff at Project, Corn Exchange are previewing their new production of Beckett’s sublime Happy Days which opens on Tue 9 and runs til Sat 20. Expect a slightly different slant on this portrayal of human resilience in the face of desolation. Fishamble have a new play by Sean McLoughlin Big Ole Piece of Cake, also running til Sat 20. Starting on Mon 29 Irish Modern Dance Theatre bring together video artas Charles Atlas and choreographer John Scott for In This Moment ‘a dazzling dreamlike meeting of high energy dance, vibrant colours, quirky humour, a musical soundscape in five languages and giant projections filmed live with a cast of seven outstanding dancers’. Phew! And from Randolph SD comes Ellamenope Jones, a new musical theatre piece with a contemporary gothic edge and a dollop of greed and desperation that opens on Tue 30.

Meanwhile David Horan’s new production of Brian Friel’s iconic Dancing at Lughnasa is at the Helix until Sat 19 with a top notch cast including Charlie Bonner, Donna Dent, Maeve Fitzgerald, Garret Keogh, Kate Nic Chonaonaigh, Marie Ruane, Stephen Swift and Susannah de Wrixon.

PurpleHeart are at Focus Theatre with the European Premiere of Men of Tortuga by upcoming American playwright Jason Wells. A dark comedy of negotiation, conspiracy and assassination that exposes the barbarism encoded in corporate bureaucracy, it had a critically acclaimed debut at Steppenwolf’s New Work programme. Captivating, according to Variety magazine. John O’Brien directs this new production with a cast including Dermot Magennis, Les martin, Gerry O’Brien, Stewart Roche and Steve Wilson. Previews from Tue 9, opens thur 11.

Oper Ireland sing out their last hurrah with their final season at the Gaeity – 7 performances of Puccini’s much loved Tosca kicking off on Thur 11 and running til Sun 21. Irish soprano Orla Boylan shares the lead role with Amarilli Nizza (replacing an indisposed Cara O’Sullivan). Making their Irish debut are Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias as Baron Scarpia and Argentinian tenor Marcello Puente as Sciarrone, and other Irish cast members include Nyle Wolfe and Imelda Drumm. Tickets from €25, student standbys available an hour before the show.

Dermot Bolger’s The Parting Glass is at the Wood Quay Venue on Sun 21 as part of 2010 Innovation Dublin, before heading out to Axis in Ballymun for another short run following its success there and in NYC this summer. Ray Yeates stars in this one man play about a returned emigrant’s experience of contemporary Ireland from bom to bust. A sort of sequel to Bolger’s In High Germany, it’s set on the infamous night when Thierry Henry dashed our World Cup hopes, that sleight of hand becoming a metaphor for the speedy deception of the post-boom years.

The Performance Corporation are heading out on tour with their recent sell-out hit Slattery’s Sago Saga, starting at the Mermaid in Bray on Tue 16 and visiting various points within reach of the capital such as Carlow and Newbridge. Arthur Riordain’s adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s unfinished comic masterpiece – one part carnival, one part surreal satire – features, among other things, a Scotch woman with an evil plan to outlaw the Irish potato. Jo Mangan directs, and the cast includes Clare Barrett, Darragh `Kelly, Lisa Lambe, Aonghus Og McAnally and Barry Ward.