'Songs from Connacht', new digital scores and sound recordings of little-known art songs by Herbert Hughes launched at the Contemporary Music Centre
'Songs from Connacht', new digital scores and sound recordings of little-known art songs by Herbert Hughes, based on the poetry of Padraic Colum, was launched at the Contemporary Music Centre on 5 October.
(L-R) Dr John O’Flynn, Associate Professor of Music, DCU, President of the Society for Musicology in Ireland; Tony Moore, member of the Colum family; Dr Áine Mulvey, editor of the new edition of 'Songs from Connacht'; Elizabeth Hilliard, collaborative pianist for the new recordings; Evonne Ferguson, CMC Director. Photo: J. Grimes.
'Songs from Connacht', originally published in 1913, is a collection of nine art songs by Herbert Hughes set to the poetry of Padraic Colum. A new edition and recordings were prepared by Dr Áine Mulvey, and Elizabeth Hilliard in 2022, in collaboration with the Contemporary Music Centre and the Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon. These scores are now available to download free from the CMC digital archive, and the recordings can be accessed on CMC's Soundcloud.
CMC Director Evonne Ferguson expressed her thanks to Dr Áine Mulvey for the great gift of these art songs:
At CMC, it is our mission to document, develop and promote contemporary music from the island of Ireland. As such, we were delighted to be approached by Dr Mulvey during her research for this project. These free to download digital scores and recordings of the 'Songs from Connacht' have huge potential to increase the awareness and performance of these little-known, but very beautiful works by Herbert Hughes.
Dr John O’Flynn, Associate Professor of Music, DCU and President of the Society for Musicology in Ireland. Photo: CMC.
Dr John O’Flynn, Associate Professor of Music, DCU and President of the Society for Musicology in Ireland gave a short talk on the context of the original collection, and commented on the impact of this new edition:
It is remarkable now to have such wonderful resources available since, as Áine [Mulvey] had documented, 'Songs of Connacht' largely disappeared from circulation following the volume’s publication by Boosey in 1913[...] Along with the recordings, this new open-access edition, 'Songs from Connacht', represents a significant moment in our ever-developing understanding of the history of composition on this island. Mainly, I would argue, because we can now regard Hughes as an author of original art song, in addition to, and inextricably linked with his other creative and cultural pursuits [...]
In terms of impact, this project not only heightens our knowledge and appreciation of Hughes as composer, adding to the rich archive of the Contemporary Music Centre, but will no doubt also be of great benefit to many performers and innumerable listeners in the future. I congratulate Áine for initiating and curating the project and new edition, and both Áine and Elizabeth for the wonderful accompanying set of recordings.
The talk was followed by a short recital of works from the 'Songs from Connacht' collection performed by Dr Áine Mulvey (mezzo-soprano) and Elizabeth Hilliard (piano).
Dr Áine Mulvey. Photo: J. Grimes.
Dr Áine Mulvey presented the first printed edition of the 'Songs from Connacht' collection to guests of honour at the launch, the family of poet Padraic Colum. The generosity of the Colum family is gratefully acknowledged for permission to include texts by Padraic Colum in this new edition. 2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the poet's death.
Dr Áine Mulvey presents 'Songs from Connacht' to Tony Moore at CMC. Photo: J. Grimes.
Free downloads of the new edition of 'Songs from Connacht', edited by Dr Áine Mulvey are available through the CMC Digital Archive here.
A printed edition may be purchased online through the CMC Shop.
A complete recording of the collection by Dr Áine Mulvey with collaborative pianist Elizabeth Hilliard is available to listen on Soundcloud.