Through the Digital Door: works for Chamber Orchestra in CMC's Library (part two)

This week's Through the Digital Door is the second of a two-part feature looking at works for chamber orchestra. These works cover a broad range of styles and date from 1981 to 2019. Last week's Part One can be found here.

Gerald Barry: From The Intelligence Park (1986) 10'

This work was originally titled Of Queens' Gardens but was renamed by the composer in 2000. It was commissioned by the New Irish Chamber Orchestra and premiered in September 1986 in Dublin. The work is based on material from Barry's opera The Intelligence Park, which features images of eighteenth-century Irish society, inspired by the collection of watercolour estate maps in the National Library of Ireland. This work is published by Schott.

It has been described by the London Times as 'a kind of hip plainchant intoned by twelve raucous strings and winds. Unison outbursts, uncomfortable silences, solo and small ensembles from within the group all have a monomaniacal, lurching quality, like a factory machine whose gears have slipped askew and that no one knows how to shut off.'

Listen to a 2005 recording of The Intelligence Park below.

John Kinsella: Violin Concerto No. 1 (1981) 30'

This work was commissioned by the New Irish Chamber Orchestra and is dedicated to the composer's wife Thérèse.

The material is shaped by a basic series, but a four-note group (D, C sharp, A, F sharp) and its variants predominate. The solo violin part contains passages of virtuoso writing but there are also many cantabile lines. There is a short cadenza towards the end of the finale.

Listen to a feature on John Kinsella from the 2016 documentary Cross Currents, produced by Athena Media for RTÉ Lyric FM, made with the support of CMC and the BAI.

Elaine Agnew: Slasp (2003) 12'

Slasp was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for the Sonorites Festival of Contemporary Music and premiered by Ulster Orchestra in May 2003.

The word Slasp comes from a poem which was written by children from St. Brigid's Primary School in Mayogall, Co Derry [...] lots of responses from the children, but the one which stood out for me was "They speak slasp". Slasp found its genesis in all kinds of other words: slap, crash, splash, rasp, gasp, slash ... visual images began to emerge. Slasp is a single movement work, divided into six sections of equal length, each with its own "stone" connection. My two favourite instruments, bass clarinet and vibraphone, are prominent throughout.

Anselm McDonnell Flicken (2019) 5'

This short work was premiered by Avanti! Chamber Orchestra in Porvoo Art Factory in Finland, and is for chamber orchestra and film.

Flicken, for Chamber Orchestra & Film by Anselm McDonnell 2019

Kevin Volans: Piano Concerto No. 4 (2015-2016) 28'

This piano concerto was premiered by pianist Barry Douglas, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with conductor Geoffrey Paterson in November 2016. This work was commissioned by BCMG. The string parts can either be played by multiple instruments or by solo players. This work is published by Wise Music Classical.

Finola Merivale mirror-waves (2016) 5'

This work is dedicated to the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra, who premiered the work in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh in June 2016.

Andrew Hamilton: The Institute of Failure and Power (2010) 17'

Commissioned by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, this work was premiered University Concert Hall, Limerick in 2010.

Listen to an interview with Andrew Hamilton about his new album Joy in Episode 22 of CMC's podcast Amplify.

Jane O'Leary from the flatirons (1984-1985) 23'

This work for flute, oboe, clarinet and string orchestra was premiered at the 8th International Congress on Women in Music at the Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao in Spain. It is dedicated to musicians Madeline Staunton, Helmut Seeber and Brian O'Rourke.

Jennifer Walshe Freya Birren's Libris Solar (2009) 8' (solo voice and chamber orchestra)

This work was commissioned by Fondazione Claudio Buziol in Venice and premiered by Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro La Fenice and Jennifer Walshe (voice). This work was written as part of Jennifer Walshe's project where the composer assumes multiple alter egos, all members of the art collective Grúpat. Freya Birren's character is a marine biologist, originally from Scandinavia but living in Mayo.