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May we never have to say goodbye

by Frank Schnittger Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 04:51:39 PM EST

Shaun Davey is one of the greatest modern Irish composers combining a unique blend of traditional Irish and orchestral music often with the distinctive tones of Liam O'Flynn's uilleann Pipes and the beautiful singing of his wife, Rita Connolly. Here she is performing his Anthem for the Special Olympics, held in Ireland in 2003, May we never have to say goodbye:

More so, perhaps, than the much more commercially successful Riverdance by Bill Whelan or Enya's celtic inspired new age world music, Sean Davey's work represents a pivotal moment in the transformation of Irish folk music into a globally accessible orchestral sound.


Liam O'Flynn's uilleann Pipes are particularly dominant in the triumphant 10th. Movement Arrival in Newfoundland of his classic Brendan Voyage (1980) which depicts the journey taken by explorer Tim Severin, in 1978, from Ireland across the Atlantic to Newfoundland in a leather currach. The voyage recreated the legendary 6th. century crossing of the Atlantic by St. Brendan. The uilleann pipes represent the small currach tossed in the seas represented by the Orchestra.

Once you hear Rita Connolly sing, you will never mistake her voice for anyone else. A`Ghrian' is taken from his live album The pilgrim.

Here Rita Connolly sings the title track and Ripples in the Rockpool from Granuaile, perhaps Davey's best known concert work about the 16th. Century Irish Chieftain and pirate, Grace O'Malley, who eventually made her peace with Queen Elizabeth I.

As a Northern Irishman, Davey is acutely aware of the historic roots to contemporary problems. Central to the Protestant/Catholic mythological and historic divide was the 17th. century Siege of Derry by King James' Catholic forces against the protestant Williamite defenders. He thus bravely takes the side of the Protestant defenders in The Relief of Derry Symphony. This is the third movement where Rita's solo starts after 6 minutes.

▶ Shaun Davey "The Relief of Derry Symphony" (3rd. Movement)

The Relief of Derry Symphony' was commissioned by Derry City council to commemorate the famous siege of 1689, a turning point in Irish history. It was composed by Shaun Davey for orchestra, uilleann pipes, solo female vocal, soprano saxaphone, with pipeband and auxiliary trumpets drawn from the local community. This melodic and descriptive symphony was conceived against a background of the early years of the Northern Ireland peace process. The live recording was made at the premiere performance in Derry Guildhall in 1990.

3rd movement; soloists enter; the first half is a musical elegy led by the uilleann pipes; the second half is the song 'The White Horse', based on a vision which brought nightly comfort to the City.

'''''The White Horse'''''

Above and below
by land and water
a white horse
a snow white horse
our hope and comfort
the city thus encompasses

Men swim the sea
my own children suffer
and angel
a snow white horse
our hope and comfort
the city thus encompasses

And where is the help
so often promised
and when will the wind serve?
For its is hard to wait
and death to so many

Aid far away
no more food for hunger
at midnight
an angel
a snow white horse
this city doth encompass

Davey also writes straight folk music. Here Cara Dillon sings his melodic setting of the traditional Scottish/Irish folk song: Fill to Me the Parting Glass

Lyrics:

Of all the money that e'er I spent
I've spent it in good company
And all the harm that ever I did
Alas it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit
To memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

If I had money enough to spend
And leisure to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in the town
That sorely has my heart beguiled
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips
I own she has my heart enthralled
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had
They're sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
They'd wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all

---

I suppose if you do have to say goodbye, that's as good a way to do it as any. Have you any other musical meditations on saying goodbye? The comment thread is open...

Display:
interesting collaboration between Rita Connolly and Gilles Servat French/Breton singer:


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 07:14:10 PM EST
I should have noted that much of Davey's work has been debuted at the annual Lorient Festival of Celtic music in Brittany. Here is a performance of the Pilgim from 2001.

▶ Shaun Davey's - The Pilgrim - YouTube

Footage from a performance of Shaun Davey's 'The Pilgrim' at the Lorient Festival, Brittany 2001. Featuring With Liam O'Flynn (uilleann pipes), Rita Connolly (vocals), Liam O'Maonlai (vocals), Triona Marshall (solo harp), Edelmiro Fernandez (gaita), Josik Allot & Bernard Pichard (bombardes), Giles Servat (vocals & narration), The festival orchestra, conducted by Guy Berrier, a 150 strong local choir, and the Bagad de Lorient Pipeband.
The theme of this powerful suite is the spread of Celtic Christianity during the dark ages, a theme as Shaun says "when people we today call saints journeyed either as ordinary passengers from one Celtic region to another, or as voyagers into the unknown, traveling as wind and current took them, placing their fate in the hands of the gods."
The saga of these hazardous sea voyages - with all their fears and exultation - is brought to life on the concert stage by a Scottish pipe band, Irish and Welsh harpists, Galicia gaitas, uilleann pipes, the bombardes of Brittany, two vocal soloists and a narrator together with a 120 strong choir and the orchestra. In stunning progression, players and instruments representative of the seven Celtic countries and regions - Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Galicia - are highlighted against the backdrop of a classical orchestra.
Several passages evoke the wild power of the sea, the connecting element between Celtic people. Amongst the most evocative of them are 'Storm at Sea' sung in medieval Irish and 'A Walk in the Water' featuring uilleann pipe master Liam O'Flynn. 'Ymadawiad Arthur' with lyrics from the Welsh epic poem, describes the death and last journey of King Arthur. Cor Gardrer Garth, the Welsh choir who first performed this piece in Lorient has since added this song to their regular repertoire. The stirring musical confrontation between the City of Glasgow Pipes and Drums and the Glasgow Philharmonic Orchestra, 'Briochan and Columba', has similarly become a popular annual fixture in Glasgow.
Two songs specially written for Rita Connolly are placed at the end of the work, movingly reinforcing its spiritual dimension, 'The Deer's Cry' and 'A Ghrian' (Hymn to the Sun). The sense of journey and the setting are given further expression through short readings of poetry from medieval times, translated from Old Irish and accompanied by the unique sound of the metal-string Irish Harp.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 06:29:02 AM EST
The Lorient Interceltic Festival is on at the moment.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 08:01:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep - it's on my bucket list!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 09:06:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Rita's beautiful solo starts after 6 minutes.

▶ Shaun Davey "The Relief of Derry Symphony" (3. Movement) - YouTube

The Relief of Derry Symphony' was commissioned by Derry City council to commemorate the famous siege of 1689, a turning point in Irish history. It was composed by Shaun Davey for orchestra, uilleann pipes, solo female vocal, soprano saxaphone, with pipeband and auxiliary trumpets drawn from the local community. This melodic and descriptive symphony was conceived against a background of the early years of the Northern Ireland peace process. The live recording was made at the premiere performance in Derry Guildhall in 1990.

3rd movement; soloists enter; the first half is a musical elegy led by the uilleann pipes; the second half is the song 'The White Horse', based on a vision which brought nightly comfort to the City.

'''''The White Horse'''''

Above and below
by land and water
a white horse
a snow white horse
our hope and comfort
the city thus encompasses

Men swim the sea
my own children suffer
and angel
a snow white horse
our hope and comfort
the city thus encompasses

And where is the help
so often promised
and when will the wind serve?
For its is hard to wait
and death to so many

Aid far away
no more food for hunger
at midnight
an angel
a snow white horse
this city doth encompass

So beautiful, I think I'll have to incorporate into main diary...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 10:43:43 AM EST
Davey introduces Rita to sing a composition of his inspired by the inscriptions in a Romanian cemetery in Sapanta. Can anyone here confirm that Rita is singing in Romanian?

Voices from the Merry Cemetery, composed by Shaun Davey - YouTube

Here i rest , Stan Ileana is my name , thirty eight years i lived, / In this world i lived ,six coocons i gave birth //without mother they raised and, so pitty i was of them/ orphans they remained / the little one in my arms i held her / and i left her alive ,the little one, in my arms i held her

Voices from the Merry Cemetery, composed by Shaun Davey - YouTube

The author's musical intelligence and sensitivity to the messages found at Sapanta, as expression of the pastoral Romanian culture, created an hymn dedicated to mothers and motherhood! Rita Connolly's voice is exceptional as was in the concert as well.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 05:56:06 AM EST


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