Focus

Emanating Sparks Emanating Sparks Brendan Finan At this year's Drogheda Arts Festival, Louth Contemporary Music Society presented a spectralist work from the 1970s alongside a postminimalist one from the last decade and a series of techno-inspired shorts. Brendan Finan finds the connections.
Glorious Shambles Glorious Shambles Adrian Smith Gerald Barry's inspirations come from many sources – his new Organ Concerto, performed in Dublin in May, was partly inspired by a cat mourning the loss of atonality – or was it? Adrian Smith reviews.
An Otherworldly Destination An Otherworldly Destination Shannon McNamee Composer Judith Ring's first body of work featuring her own singing is both gentle and complex writes Shannon McNamee in her second Journal of Music/Galway City Council Music Writer Mentoring Scheme review.
Reimagining Belfast Reimagining Belfast Toner Quinn Fiddle-player Conor Caldwell's diverse new album is inspired by both the historic work of collector Edward Bunting and the sounds of contemporary Belfast, writes Toner Quinn.
Hamilton's Relentless Pursuit Hamilton's Relentless Pursuit Adrian Smith Andrew Hamilton's 'music for people who like art' was the nearest thing to a smash hit in contemporary music, writes Adrian Smith. A new recording on the NMC label includes works composed either side of it too.
Strange Type of Orchestra Love Strange Type of Orchestra Love Toner Quinn The RTÉ orchestras report has made recommendations in response to a crisis, but we have not heard enough discussion of the issues that caused it, writes Toner Quinn.
Misunderstandings, Trickery and Guile Misunderstandings, Trickery and Guile Brendan Finan Irish National Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro was fresh, visually arresting and cartoonish, writes Brendan Finan. But why does opera still rely on women's stories as told by men?
RTÉ Orchestra Report Illustrates Scale of Problems RTÉ Orchestra Report Illustrates Scale of Problems External review recommends that National Symphony Orchestra be established as cultural institution separate from RTÉ.
The Theatre of the Sonic Object The Theatre of the Sonic Object Anna Murray The Music Current festival continues to present intriguing, uncompromising sound works, as Anna Murray found at a performance by Yarn | Wire.
No Hint of Bad Taste No Hint of Bad Taste Stephen Walsh Claude Debussy stands apart as a modernist – extremely popular and yet he tore up the rulebook of harmony and form, rebelling against the tyranny of the barline and heavy orchestration. Boulez described it as ‘instantaneous self-renewal’. How did he get there? His starting point was an obsession with pleasure, writes Stephen Walsh.

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