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Cape Symphony presents Passport to Ireland in January 2022

"Passport to Ireland": Read the Show Notes

For the first time in our popular “Passport” series, the Cape Symphony presents an adventurous journey to Ireland. Passport to Ireland is Saturday, May 28 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, May 29 at 3:00 PM.

Guest Artists

Eileen Ivers, Irish Fiddle
Maeve Gilchrist, Celtic Harp
Matt Mancuso, Guitar
Dancers from Kanaley School of Irish Dance

 

Table of Contents

Program

About Today's Program

Video Bonus

Special Notes by Maeve Gilchrist

Enjoy Passport to Ireland

Program

THE IRISH WASHERWOMAN from IRISH SUITE
Traditional, arranged by Leroy Anderson

IRISH TUNE from COUNTY DERRY (DANNY BOY)
Traditional, arranged by Percy Grainger

AISLING: BANBA from I HAVE LOVED THE LANDS OF IRELAND (SYMPHONY NO. 2)
Seóirse Bodley

THE VOYAGE from CONCERTO FOR CELTIC HARP
Maeve Gilchrist and Luke Benton

BRAKPOLSKAN
Lena Jonsson, arranged by Maeve Gilchrist

The following three pieces will be performed together as a set:

ISLE OF AIGAS
Traditional, arranged by Maeve Gilchrist

CHRIS STOUT'S COMPLIMENTS TO THE BON ACCORDE ALE HOUSE
Chris Stout, arranged by Maeve Gilchrist

ANCESTRAL MUD
Maeve Gilchrist, arranged by Maeve Gilchrist, additional orchestration by Bill Wolaver

Intermission

PLANXTY LOFTUS JONES
Arranged by Michael Starobin

CANBRACK GIRLS MEDLEY
Eileen Ivers, arranged by Tony Finno

MACKEREL SKY MEDLEY
Eileen Ivers, arranged and orchestrated by Scott O’Neil

GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Traditional, arranged by Tony Finno

PACHELBEL’S FROLICS
Traditional, arranged by Keith Sammut

BLIZZARD TRAIN MEDLEY
Traditional, arranged by Tony Finno

GLASS OF BEER from IMMIGRATION SUITE
Traditional, arranged by Keith Sammut

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About Today’s Program

Over 2,000 years ago, the Celts brought music to Ireland with influences from Africa and the Middle East – in fact, the Celtic harp may have originated in Egypt! According to Irishcentral.com, music in Ireland began as an oral tradition, listening to each other and learning to play by ear, without documenting on paper. In the late eighteenth century, traditional tunes began to be written down, and today, the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin houses the largest collection of traditional and folk music in the world.

You may associate Irish music with these folk traditions and pub songs we all know well. Yet classical music in Ireland dates back to the early 15th century in Dublin, and Handel’s Messiah had its world premiere at the Great Music Hall in April 1742, with the choirs from St. Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals, attended by 700 people. Ireland has a long tradition of classical composers, including some featured in our Passport concert.

Sir Hamilton Harty, for example, began his career as an organist, and became a well-known conductor, leading the London Symphony Orchestra for two years in the 1930s. His compositions include The Irish Symphony, which he conducted for the first time in 1904 in Dublin. The Times of London called the piece "a work of much promise ... received with enthusiasm. It has many ideas, always freshly expressed, and the airs are developed with more than common variety and beauty." Harty’s works continue to be performed and recorded in the 21st century. We’ll perform the movement from The Irish Symphony known as “The Twelfth of July.”

Another well-known Irish composer we’ll highlight is Seóirse Bodley. Bodley studied music and composition at University College Dublin, where he would later be an assistant professor, as well as in London and in Germany. Bodley’s I Have Loved the Lands of Ireland (Symphony No. 2) from 1980 was written during a period when he explored traditional Irish music, and its movements portray various aspects of Irish history and culture. We’ll perform the movement called “Banba.” Bodley was the first composer to become a Saoi of Aosdána, a state-supported association of Irish creative artists. Saoi is the highest honor bestowed by Aosdána, and there are most seven living Saoithe at any time. When the President of Ireland presented the honor to Bodley in 2008, she said that he "has helped us to recast what it means to be an artist in Ireland.”

Traditional Irish music has seen a renaissance in the last few decades, crossing over into pop music in Europe and North America, and seeing new life through shows like Riverdance and performers like our special guests for Passport to Ireland, Maeve and Eileen. They perform on two of the main traditional instruments, Celtic harp and Irish fiddle respectively. Interestingly, the fiddle is a violin approached in a different way, with a distinct style of playing, a looser way of holding the instrument, and the ability to experiment – as you’ll see when Eileen performs!

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Video Bonus

Watch this video of Jung-Ho Pak and Eileen Ivers in conversation.

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Special Notes by Maeve Gilchrist

THE VOYAGE FROM CONCERTO FOR CELTIC HARP
Maeve Gilchrist and Luke Benton

Voyage, the first movement of harpist and composer Maeve Gilchrist and composer and orchestrator Luke Benton’s groundbreaking work for (Celtic) harp and symphony orchestra is an oceanic-ode to the journey taken by so many immigrants from Ireland to America at the turn of the century.

Inspired by her mother, Anne Gilchrist’s book, In Pursuit of Kate Corbett, the concerto follows the incredible tale of Maeve’s great-great-grandmother, Kate Corbett, who traveled with her family from her prosperous Dublin home across the Atlantic, eventually reaching the alien landscape of Wyoming, where they settled into the challenging life of homesteading. It was a journey full of heartache, loss, and great love. In this four-part concerto, Gilchrist and Benton evoke the vivid succession of landscapes and colors that such a journey must have involved with its new experiences, sounds, sights, and smells. In this particular movement, the waves churn and the salt-wind whips round this hopeful young family, carrying them and their dreams from the “Old World” to the new.

BRAKPOLSKAN
Lena Jonsson
A beautiful tune by the wonderful Swedish fiddler Lena Jonsson. During the height of lockdown, I took to reaching out to my talented musician friends around the globe to swap tunes, connect, and keep our creative minds occupied. I sent a favorite waltz of mine to Lena to learn and she sent me this tune back. This idea of “swapping” tunes is really a cultural exchange of sorts; a window into another world. I’ve always been interested in Scandinavian music and its connection to the North-East Scottish Island culture. I loved Lena’s bow work on this tune and tried to harp-ify it, creating my own version of her virtuosic cross-bridge arpeggios!

SET:
ISLE OF AIGAS

Eilean Aigas is an island in the river Beauly in Inverness-shire, Scotland. This old, haunting slow-air, taken from the Simon Fraser collection was one of the first slow airs I ever learned on the harp. In 2019, I blew off the cobwebs and created a string-arrangement version that we premiered with Palaver strings at the Rockport Celtic Festival, MA. I think it’s such a mysterious tune that still manages to pull at the heartstrings and conjure up the rugged, beautiful landscape of Scotland.

CHRIS STOUT'S COMPLIMENTS TO THE BON ACCORDE ALE HOUSE
A great tune by one of Shetland’s foremost fiddle players and composers, Chris Stout. Full of hypnotic rhythms and drive, it’s an unusual tune with constant switching of time signatures from 3/4 to 4/4.

ANCESTRAL MUD
This is a piece that I wrote as part of a three-part commission for harp and string quartet for the Edinburgh International Harp Festival in 2018. It was originally inspired by one of Samuel Becket’s satirical, rhythmic monologue in his novel Watt. Over time it’s morphed into a “chamber-tune”: fast, driving and full of the forward-movement that I associate with dance tunes from Ireland and Scotland. In this version, orchestrated by Bill Wolaver, we allow the orchestra to join in the fun!

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Enjoy Passport to Ireland

If you have your tickets, we look forward to welcoming you to Passport to Ireland – and if you don’t have tickets yet, we encourage you to join us for this wonderful show!

The Cape Symphony is proud to present Passport to Ireland on Saturday, May 28 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, May 29 at 3:00 PM.

For more information and to purchase tickets for Passport to Ireland, visit capesymphony.org, call the Box Office at 508-362-1111, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit 1060 Falmouth Road in Hyannis, MA. The Cape Symphony Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

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