Through the Digital Door: Vocal works in CMC's Library

This week's Through the Digital Door focuses on works for solo voice - though one work does include percussion played by the singer! The works selected by Library Co-ordinator Susan Brodigan reflect the broad range of works for solo voice in CMC's collection, across a wide range of styles.

Though this feature focuses on solo vocal works, CMC's newest catalogue was launched in January 2020 and focuses on works for all voice types with piano accompaniment. Curated by CMC Scholar-in-Residence Orla Shannon, it showcases the breadth of advanced music for voice and piano in CMC's collection.

Gráinne Mulvey: Eternity is Now (2008) 4'

Written for mezzo-soprano voice, this work was premiered by Elizabeth Hilliard in the Unitarian Church on Stephen's Green in Dublin in November 2008. This work is also included on Elizabeth Hilliard's 2016 CD Sea to the West, released on the Métier label.

Elizabeth has launched an online series across the month of July called Find Your Voice, discussing topics and tips around finding ease and enjoyment in singing.

Find Your Voice Week 1

Andrew Hamilton: O'ROURKE (2013) 4'

This work was commissioned by and premiered by singer Michelle O'Rourke in the Kevin Barry Room in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, in December 2013.

A programme note on the score reads:

"Remember friend, as you pass by, as you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you must be. Prepare yourself to follow me." Inscription on a tombstone in Ashby, Massachusetts.

This work was performed by Michelle O'Rourke in CMC's second online Salon in July 2020. Listen to this performance, as well as a conversation with Andrew Hamilton about this work with CMC director Evonne Ferguson below.

CMC Salon - Michelle O'Rourke (singer)

John Buckley: I am wind on sea (1987) 9'

This work is written for female voice and percussion, where the crotales and woodblocks are played by the singer and are intended as an extension of her voice. This work was written for and premiered by Aylish Kerrigan. The text is a translation made by the composer from old Irish sources.

In the setting I have attempted to capture something of the elemental, ritualistic and strikingly dramatic quality of the text. Throughout the piece, extensive use is made of contemporary vocal techniques such as tongue clicks, flutter tonguing, passages of approximate pitch and so forth, as a means of colouring and heightening the expressive range of the vocal line.

Jennifer Walshe: G.L.O.R.I.- (2005) 3'

This work is written for solo voice and was premiered by the composer in the Half Moon Theatre in Cork in 2005. A recording of this work features on Jennifer Walshe's 2010 release Nature Data.

Watch a performance of an excerpt of this work below by the composer from CMC's Art of Sound exhibition at the 2007 Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Jennifer Walshe at the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2007

Anselm McDonnell: Threads & Ribbons (2018) 7'

This work was originally written for baritone and guitar, with this version for solo baritone following later in 2018.

This piece is a work that seeks to blur the boundaries between a musical performance and acting. The singer is to deliver the material in a dramatic manner, lapsing from singing into dramatic speech and then returning. The text is part of a series of poems that explore the Biblical account of the crucifixion of Christ, from the perspective of various observers, and uses modern urban imagery to both increase the emotional impact and obscure the religious context. Threads and Ribbons is told from the perspective of one of the soldiers involved, and his unfolding realisation of his involvement in the horrific scene he observes.