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

What about England?

I am supporting England in the World Cup this summer. As an Irishman, that is easier to write than it will be to act upon. There is history, and the Irish are traditionally sensitive to the English imperiousness that tends to appear on football occasions. But I want to think about our two islands differently. England is our close, island-dwelling neighbour. In the new peacetime that has been created, can the Irish learn to love it? Sporting and cultural events may offer us that chance.

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