Through the Digital Door: 2005 Concorde Concert

This week's Through the Digital Door takes a look through Contemporary Music Centre's archive of digital and physical ephemera.

CMC's physical ephemera collection ranges from concert programmes and leaflets to posters, photographs and ticket stubs. Parts of this collection have been digitised in recent years, most recently as part of the 2018 Digitisation Project, funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht/Creative Ireland 2018 Cultural Digitisation Scheme.

This week's feature highlights works performed in a 2005 Concorde concert in association with spnm. This programme was also performed as part of the Spitalfields Festival, in Wilton's Music Hall, London. The programme for this concert was digitised as part of Concorde40, a project created and curated by Maynooth University MA Digital Humanities student Richard Breen in 2016. This online exhibition digitised physical ephemera preserved by composer and Concorde founding member Jane O'Leary, and celebrated 40 years since the foundation of Concorde. By creating this online exhibition, Richard aimed to both make this material available to the public and to preserve them digitally for archival use.

Elaine Agnew: Mushrooming (2000) 10'

This work was commissioned by Music Network and premiered in 2000 by Judith Mok (soprano) and the Irish Piano Trio. The soprano part was performed by Tina Verbeke at this 2005 Concorde concert. This work is inspired by a poem of the same name by American poet Chris Agee.

When I first came across this poem I was immediately struck by its stimulation of the five senses, especially in its references to smell and touch, the strong visual one alone providing much scope for musical material. A busy whispering violin line introduces a melodic germ that fertilises and awakens the music with its trills and glissandi sliding into life. The hesitant and anxious cello provokes the stammering and stuttering of growth, though with the promise of life to come. On entry of the voice, the presented stillness has an air of uncertainty with shimmering and ethereal textures contrasting with the smelliness and gloom of the earth rot.

Deirdre Gribbin: To Bathe her Body in Whiteness (1999 rev. 2005) 7'

First performed in 1998 in the Southbank Centre by Northern Sinfonia, this work was commissioned by Endymion Ensemble. This work is scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, accordion and piano.

I began creating sketches for sound sculptures based on instruments that I had collected from the two previous summers spent in the Indian Himalayan region of Ladakh. Travelling alone, this remote place was both peaceful and punishing, giving me the greatest sense of peace and, presenting me with the greatest challenges. Spending time in the faraway Nubra Valley, recording folk music and absorbing Tibetan culture, customs and instruments I was far removed from western comforts and aware of the luminosity of this stony barren highland, which felt so completely absorbing. ‘To Bathe Her Body in Whiteness’ searches for this sense of otherness of time and place.

Peter Rosser: Slow Drug (2005) 11' (premiere)

Slow Drug was the first of four works premiered at this Concorde concert. These four works were developed following a series of workshops organised by spnm and Concorde. This work is scored for solo soprano, alto flute, bass clarinet, accordion and cello.

Garrett Sholdice: Quintet (2005) 12' (premiere)

This work was premiered by Concorde at this concert and is cored for flute/alto flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, accordion, piano and cello. The systems on the score are divided into three sections, each of which is approximately ten seconds long. Performers are instructed that they should never deliberately synchronise repeating material, but should maintain an even pulse within their own repeating units.

Derek Kelly Lion in the Rain (2005) 11' (premiere)

This work is scored for voice, flute+piccolo, violin, cello, accordion and piano and was performed in this concert by Tine Verbeke, Madeleine Staunton, Alan Smale, Adrian Mantu, Dermot Dunne and Jane O'Leary.

Karen Power we're not there yet 9' (2005) (premiere)

This work was the final work premiered at this concert, developed as part of a series of workshops run by spnm and Concorde. This work is scored for alto flute, bass clarinet, violin and cello.

This piece is a result of my growing interest in electro-acoustic composition. Although it was written for chamber ensemble plus pieces of wood/stone the concept and sound world are very much related to electro-acoustic thinking. I wanted to explore the idea that items in their natural state can be just as acoustically interesting as man-altered ones, for example, a piece of bark and a violin. The piece goes through stages where the two sound worlds compete. Both sets of instruments rely heavily on rhythm to make their case with the conventional instruments trying to introduce pitch. The piece ends with both sides finding their place in the world!