Orchestral settings of three traditional sean nós songs, as part of the Iomas Project.
I was thrilled to be invited by Iarla to set these songs, the first of which is in Irish, and tells of the ancient landscape around one of Ireland's most well known lakes. The second two are macaronic, in both Irish and English. "Siúl a Rún" is a well known old song that Iarla learned from his great Aunt Elizabeth Cronin, one of the great figures of sean nós singing, and is told from the point of view of a young woman trying to bid her lover farewell as he leaves for war (perhaps). The last song, which translates as "I am Weary of Lying Alone," is a fitting end to the sequence, though is perhaps not just about mourning.
These songs, which are performed continuously as a complete set -- a mini oratorio of sorts -- were premiered at the National Concert Hall in Dublin by Iarla and the RTE Concert Orchestra in September 2013. Read more: an article in the Irish Times, and a review.
In 2017, smaller versions for sinfonietta were performed by Iarla and Contemporaneous at National Sawdust.
listen to an excerpt, recorded live at the premiere:
Commissioned by the Arts Council of Ireland for the RTE National Concert Orchestra