Through the Digital Door: New Music Dublin 2013

Ahead of the 2021 edition of New Music Dublin, this week's Through the Digital Door looks back at some of the works and events featured in the inaugural New Music Dublin Festival. This took place from the 1st to the 3rd of March 2013 in the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Friday 1 March 2013 - Garth Knox: Saltarello | 1:05pm, John Field Room

Garth Knox's Saltarello project performed works stretching from the 12th century to the present day, including works by Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume de Machaut, Kaija Saariaho, John Dowland and Garth Knox.

Garth Knox: Nine fingers and Up, down, sideways, round from Viola Spaces (2009)

Each of these spaces concentrates on a specific extended technique, and exist in a solo, duo and trio version. The version performed at this concert is for viola, cello and percussion. This work is published by Schott.

Friday 1 March 2013 - Festival Preview | 6.45pm, Kevin Barry Room

This festival preview included a premiere performance of a work by Emma O'Halloran, followed by a panel discussion previewing the inaugural New Music Dublin festival.

Emma O'Halloran: Cages (2013) 7'

This work, scored for voice, horn, piano and tape was premiered by Liz Hilliard (voice), David Bremner (piano) and Enda Collins (French horn) at NMD 2013, and was commissioned by the Jerome Hynes Young Composers' Award 2013.

This piece was written over a short period of a number of weeks. In a way, it was exhilarating to be forced to work so quickly, however, at times I felt almost trapped by the looming deadline. I felt caged. Around the time I was reading John Cage’s ‘Composition in Retrospect’, and certain lines from this book completely embodied what I was experiencing while working against the clock. I decided to pull these lines out and assemble a text. A text by Cage about cages. This piece is about the process of writing music. Of the frustrations, the effort, the anxiety, the solitude, the questioning and the sheer joy of the process. It felt fitting for this occasion- the beginning of a festival dedicated to the celebration of new music!

Saturday 2 March 2013 - Counterparts: Joyce in Dubin and Paris | 1:05pm, John Field Room

Ronan Guilfoyle: Counterparts (2013)

Written for jazz quintet, this work was premiered at New Music Dublin 2013 by Dominique Pifarély (violin), Michael Buckley, Stéphane Payen (saxophones), Ronan Guilfoyle (electric bass guitar), Christophe Lavergne (kit). The work is made up of seven movements and is inspired by the music quoted in James Joyce's works written in Dublin and Paris. The music is partially notated and partially improvised.

Listen to an interview with Ronan Guilfoyle as part of NMD2013 below.

Saturday 2 March 2013 - Fidelio Trio | 2:30pm, Kevin Barry Room

This Fidelio Trio concert included works by Luke Bedford, Pascal Dusapin, Salvatore Sciarrino, Johannes Maria Staud and David Fennessy.

This work, written for piano trio and tape, was first premiered by the Da Vinci Trio in Glasgow University Concert Hall and was performed at NMD 2013 by Fidelio Trio. These conversations between John Cage and Morton Feldman was recorded between July 1966 and January 1967 in the studios of the New York radio station WBAI. The composer describes the work with this introduction:

The conversation itself is punctuated by long, ponderous silences and I have utilized them as a kind of mould into which I have poured my own musical material.

This work is published by Universal Edition.

Saturday 2 March 2013 - Raymond Deane Focus | 5:30pm, Kevin Barry Room

The 2013 edition of New Music Dublin focussed on composer Raymond Deane to mark his sixtieth birthday. To celebrate this, a new CMC documentary by filmmaker Mark Linnane was screened, followed by a performance of Mystery of a Street by Concorde and the premiere of Versura by The Ottoni Brass Ensemble.

Raymond Deane: Mystery of a Street (2012) 6'

This work was commissioned by Concorde and is scored for bass clarinet, accordion and cello. It was first premiered in July 2012 in Dublin's Gallery of Photography.

The title was suggested by the painting Melancholy and Mystery of a Street (1914) by the Italian surrealist Giorgio di Chirico which, according to the art critic Robert Hughes, ‘presents the very concept of the street as being dense in history and in possibility, in melancholy and in mystery. Any banal empty street, in this light, could be seen as sinister and yet disturbingly beautiful.’ A reproduction of the painting sat on my computer desktop while I worked on this piece, and I came to associate it with the view of James St East from my Baggot St window.

Raymond Deane: Versura (2009) 9'

This work was commissioned by Ottoni Brass Ensemble for NMD 2013 and is scored for brass quintet. In the programme note for this work the composer discusses his composition process:

Versura was commissioned by the Ottoni Brass Quintet in 2006. The first sketches were composed in the Schwandorf artists’ retreat (Bavaria) in November of that year, when I was about to start work on my opera The Alma Fetish, which employs a method of pitch organisation that I call ‘the fan principle’ (fans play a major role in the plot of the opera) entailing chains of intervals which increase and decrease in size like the opening and closing of a fan. Versura represents an essay in the fairly basic use of this method. The title means ‘turning’, and could refer to the place where one turns when ploughing, or to the turning from one line of verse to the next.

A Portrait of Raymond Deane

Sunday 3 March 2013 - Callino Quartet | 1:05pm, John Field Room

This lunchtime concert included works by CMC composers Kevin Volans and Ian Wilson, alongside works by Anton Webern, Valentin Silvestrov and John Tavener.

Kevin Volans: String Quartet No. 11 (Chakra for String Quartet) (2011) 20'

This work was commissioned by Callino Quartet with funding from the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and was premiered by the same quartet in the National Concert Hall in 2013's New Music Dublin Festival. In this work's programme note the composer discusses this work:

This piece is related to two other pieces: *Chakra for 3 percussionists (2003)* and *Chakra for 3 Percussionists and Orchestra* (2011). In each case, similar material is taken as a starting point, re-ordered, and developed and treated differently. In all versions I’ve used some serial composition techniques, mainly degrees of order and disorder, partially in acknowledgement of my teacher of 40 years ago, Stockhausen.

This work is published by Chester Music.

First premiered in 2002 in the Hugh Lane Gallery by Callino Quartet, this work was performed by the same quartet at New Music Dublin in 2013.

The piece is in a single movement and lasts 15 minutes. The inspiration for the piece is bound up with ideas of loss and remembrance and is dedicated to the memory of my maternal Grandmother, who died just after I completed the work.

A recording of this work was released in 2007 on a Callino Quartet CD of Ian Wilson quartets called Veer, available via Ian Wilson's Bandcamp page. This work is published by Universal Edition.

3 March 2013 - Composer workshop with Fidelio Trio and Tansy Davies | Kevin Barry Room

As part of the inaugural New Music Dublin Festival, CMC hosted a composer workshop for five young Irish composers, who were invited to write pieces for piano trio. Participating composers were Rúaidhrí Mannion, Piaras Hoban, Seán Clancy, Amanda Feery and Eric Skytterholm Egan.