CMC Ireland announces the six works nominated by the Irish Section for the 2024 ISCM World New Music Days Festival

Following a call for works to represent the Irish Section at the 2024 ISCM World New Music Days festival, the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland is delighted to announce the six nominated works which will be put forward for consideration by the festival organisers. Of these six works, one must be programmed for performance at the ISCM World New Music Days Festival in the Faroe Islands in June 2024.

ISCM World New Music Days festival is an annual international showcase of new music representing contemporary work from across the globe. In 2024, the festival takes place in the Faroe Islands from from 22 – 30 June. 

For the 2024 Call for Works, former members of the AIC and CMC-represented composers were invited to submit works under any of the 18 categories for performance presented at the World New Music Days festival. The following 6 works by composers Rhona Clarke, Eric Egan, Francis Heery, Óscar Mascareñas, Ailís Ní Ríain and Jane O'Leary were selected by an independent panel and have been put forward by the Irish Section (CMC) for consideration by the 2024 festival organisers. 

Choir Category

Rhona ClarkeO Vis Aeternitatis (2020)

O Vis Aeternitatis is a setting of a responsory text by Hildegard of Bingen. Dated c.1150, the words centre on the power of eternity, a concept often linked with divinity. In this musical setting, the structure is changed slightly, leaving out the final response and ending instead with the half-doxology: Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto which is given a lively, fugal treatment. The opening melisma is influenced by Hildegard's musical setting. O Vis Aeternitatis was commissioned by Music for Galway for the Abendmusik series with funds from Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. It was premiered by Resurgam, conducted by Peter Whelan on 22 November 2020.

String Chamber Ensemble (10 -13 instruments) Category

Eric Egan - in some or other Oasis | (i en eller annen Oase) (2014)

In some or other Oasis is about loneliness and loss; about the solitude of existence, as an infinitesimal part of an ungraspable totality. Apart from small differences, we are all the same – for better or for worse we are products of our past and pieces on the world's game board. In a game that moves indomitably from moment to moment. The piece is an attempt at capturing such a moment - to focus our gaze at an ephemeral moment of common consciousness - a beautiful and timeless move through which all the pieces fall into place.

Sound Installations Category

Francis Heery - Towards A Soteriological Theory Of Bog Bodies (2023)

Towards A Soteriological Theory of Bog Bodies employs a fixed media soundscape and a printed score to create a sonic psycho-geography of the Irish bog-lands. The performers are invited to psychologically inhabit the score and soundscape in an attempt to express the en-magik’d aura of central Ireland. The printed score is an example of ‘affectivenotation’ I am developing. This is a structured but non-linear layering of musical/expressive directions through images and words. It is designed to guide the performers to accurately render my own idiosyncratic perspective of this specific geographical area.

Óscar MascareñasBurrenscapes (2022)

This is a re-imagination of the work Burrenscapes as a six-channel sound installation designed for an outdoors space. Burrenscapes is a collection of experiences and sonic impressions of the area known as the Burren, in Co. Clare, Ireland. With this series of poetic sound essays, the composer pays homage to the place, its inhabitants – humans, flora and fauna – and their utterly indescribable, otherworldly and extraordinary beauty. The work was originally devised as an album and was released by Diatribe Records (Dublin) in July 2022 as part of their Landscape Series. It incorporates voices, strings and electronics as well as ambient sounds recorded in various parts of the Burren. Haiku-like poetic texts create a dialogue between words, silence and abstract sound that aims not to describe the landscapes themselves, but to embody the experience of being present in and with them.

Electronic Music with Fixed Media Category

Ailís Ní Ríain - Doomed. Done for. Damned. But still.... (2023)

In recent years the climate crises has grown even more urgent and the artistic response has been even greater. In some ways art can help us feel the urgency of this crises - it is difficult to fully comprehend how pervasive the issue has become even in my lifetime. It can often be difficult to connect to the climate crisis: as some have said, it can feel too far in the future and ultimately that we are already too trapped within it to do much or change anything. The title is inspired by Evening, a poem by the American poet Dorianne Laux - her own poetical commentary on the climate crises. For me, she deftly puts into words where we’ve brought ourselves too, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The brutal and uncompromising altered piano heaves and puffs the piece into life; the cello fights echoes repeats opposes surrenders sings rusts. The fixed audio comprises ‘altered’ piano performed by the composer.

From ‘Evening’ by Dorianne Laux:

‘We know we are doomed,
done for, damned, and still
the light reaches us, falls
on our shoulders even now.’

String Quartet Category

Jane O'Leary - Strings in the Air, Songs in the Stones (2021)

Dedicated to Eamonn O’Donoghue, Claregalway Castle, and ConTempo Quartet. This quartet was written for a premiere at Claregalway Castle, a 15th century Anglo-Norman tower house on the outskirts of Galway - the scene of many battles over the centuries. Captured by Oliver Cromwell in 1651, and falling into disrepair after that, the castle has now been lovingly restored. The music calls forth fragments of melodies, whispering voices, mystery and memory as we imagine the ghosts of the past. The title refers to the idea of songs being carried through time by the stones of the castle, and echoes words from Joyce’s ‘Chamber Music’: Strings in the earth and air / Make music sweet.