The Ros Tapestry Suite is the most ambitious project undertaken by the New Ross Piano Festival since its inception in 2006. It represents a variegated musical response to the Ros Tapestry, an impressive fifteen-panel work of embroidery tracing the history of the Norman invasion of Ireland. The double-album edition documents fifteen works for solo piano, each commissioned from a different Irish composer by the New Ross Piano Festival, and each involved with a distinct and personal engagement with one of the tapestry panels.
The fifteen pieces were premiered by an array of Irish and international pianists, five at a time, at the three piano festivals in September 2014, 2015 and 2016. For each performance, the tapestry in question was carried up to the church from the exhibition space and displayed beside the piano. The compositions are as rich and varied as the tapestry is colourful and engrossing: from Gerald Barry’s poised and minimal evocation of the moments before the Norman landing at Bannow Strand, to Linda Buckley’s introspective musical portrait of the Anglo-Norman nobleman William Marshal; to Sebastian Adams’ abstraction of the Siege of Wexford, and Deirdre Gribbin’s controlled and painterly response to a stormy Medieval sea crossing.
The roll call of pianists represented here is also impressive, including the festival’s Artistic Director Finghin Collins, young stars such as Dublin International Piano Competition winner Nathalia Milstein and up-and-coming Wexford native Jonathan Morris, and also established international names such as Nicholas Angelich, Piers Lane, Lise de la Salle and Cédric Tiberghein.