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

A Few Days in the Sun?

The Rise and Fall of the Irish New Music Scene

I was at the very heart of the city. The postal code of my office was ‘Dublin 1’. From my office window, I could eventually glimpse the Spire of Dublin, the 120-metre, shimmering, pin-like monument which I watched being erected in 2003. The site of the Spire was traditionally regarded as the exact centre of Dublin City.

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Tell Us Another

‘I mbliana ní raibh aon urraíocht ar fáil faraor, leis an tseachtain ealaíne is oidhreachta a reachtáil mar a bhíonns againn go hiondúil.’ Or, in English: ‘Unfortunately, no sponsorship was available this year to organise the arts and heritage week as usual.’ The note came home from school, here in Conamara. Not an insurmountable problem. It’s a resourceful school and the staff are going to mix up the classes and deploy their own talents to keep the week going. In the past, the funding, mainly public, has been used to bring in artists, musicians and writers from outside.

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The Art of Money

How are arts organisations and artists going to get through this recession? This is hardly an ideal time to ask this; the right time was a couple of years before it happened. Nonetheless, as budgets continue to disintegrate, we have to start seriously discussing the funding of artists and arts organisations, and how we are going protect it – what’s Continue reading