Music and the Betrayal of Ireland

On BBC Radio 3’s CD Review, it seems that the greatest compliment a reviewer can give a conductor is that a passage is ‘beautifully understated’. I was reminded of this a couple of months ago when the conductor David Brophy appeared on RTÉ Radio 1. He was leaving his role with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra after seven years and was asked to pick out three highlights. Alongside concerts with Lang Lang and Jon Lord, he picked the premiere of Dave Flynn’s Concerto for Traditional Irish Musician, Aontacht, performed by Martin Hayes.

‘It had more of a punch to it…. Only a few days before… the IMF arrived into Dublin…  as a nation we were all feeling quite low.’

Beautifully understated.

The concert took place on 24 November 2010. Six days before, the International Monetary Fund had arrived to negotiate the country’s bailout. Two winters before, Continue reading

Martin Hayes and the Tradition

For a musician who has come to personify open-mindedness in twenty-first century Irish traditional music, it is probably a paradox to say that it is Martin Hayes’ single-mindedness that is most impressive. Many traditional Irish musicians have released an outstanding recording or two, the kind that overflows with high points and Continue reading