Brendan Finan

Conversations with the Past
On 11 September, the Irish Traditional Music Archive hosted a gala concert at the National Concert Hall with a range of musicians and dancers who have featured in its Drawing from the Well series. Brendan Finan reviews.
Energy at the Core
Irish composer Finola Merivale's debut album 'Tús', winner of the National Concert Hall/Sounding the Feminists Music Recording Award, features five works performed by New York chamber music ensemble Desdemona. Brendan Finan reviews.
Communication Under Constraints
David Bremner's chamber opera 'Slow Recognition' was premiered at Unit 44 in Dublin last week. Brendan Finan reviews.
Ambient Natural World
'Chimp', the new solo album from violinist and singer Diamanda La Berge Dramm, is a collection of avant pop with words by Steven J. Fowler. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Royal Conflict
Irish National Opera's production of Donizetti’s 'Maria Stuarda' opened in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin at the weekend, ahead of dates in Cork, Wexford and Limerick. Brendan Finan reviews.
Natural New Directions
Violist Nathan Sherman and percussionist Alex Petcu have recently released a new album that includes commissions from Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Kate Moore as well as works by Ian Wilson and Berio. Brendan Finan reviews.
Not a Journey But a Place
Last weekend, Louth Contemporary Music Society presented the Irish premiere of American composer Michael Pisaro-Liu's, ‘asleep, wind, voice, poe’. The concert featured London group Apartment House, pianist David Bremner, composer and audio producer David Stalling, and actor Olwen Fouéré. Brendan Finan reviews.
Not Its Usual Scream
Pianist Michael McHale has recently released an album that combines the famous Beethoven 'Moonlight' and' Appassionata' sonatas with new works by Linda Buckley and Áine Mallon. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Voice His Own, Rarely Alone
After a delay of two years due to the pandemic, fiddle player Martin Hayes finally premiered his new group the Common Ground Ensemble at the National Concert Hall last weekend. Brendan Finan reviews.
Some Kind of Magic in Cork
The seventh Ortús Chamber Music Festival took place recently in Cork, featuring Mairéad Hickey, Fiachra Garvey and a new work by Sebastian Adams. Brendan Finan reviews.
Against Typecasting
Malachy Robinson's recent album 'The Irish Double Bass' features works by his grandfather Joseph Groocock, Eoghan Desmond, John Kinsella, Ian Wilson, Kevin O'Connell, Judith Ring, Deirdre Gribbin, and Ryan Molloy. Brendan Finan reviews.
Different Words for Cello Worlds
The Spike alternative cello festival took place in Dublin on the weekend of 11–13 February. Brendan Finan reviews the Saturday night performance at the Pepper Canister featuring Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Martin Johnson and Adrian Mantu.
Every Character in Their Own Prison
The opening night of Irish National Opera's production of Vivaldi's 'Bajazet' took place in Navan this week. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Radical and Timely Work
Michael Gallen's new opera 'Elsewhere', based on the true story of a protest in an asylum in Monaghan in 1919, premiered at the Abbey Theatre last week. Brendan Finan reviews.
Finding Freedom
Irish National Opera's production of Beethoven's 'Fidelio', which ran at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin last week, questioned ideas of liberty, state power and democracy. Brendan Finan reviews.
Through the Lens
Composer Ian Wilson's new album 'Echoes and Shadows', which focuses on works for violins, was released recently on Farpoint Records. Brendan Finan reviews.
An Opera of Sympathy and Fury
A new version of 'Least Like the Other' by Brian Irvine and Netia Jones premiered in Dublin this month. Brendan Finan reviews.
Gathering and Scattering Sounds
The Galway orchestra Luminosa recently premiered a new adventurous work by Sam Perkin as part of its second 'Arcadia' concert. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Modern Tour of Ancient Music
The 25th Galway Early Music Festival took place on 21–23 May, featuring Enea Sorini and Peppe Frana, the Irish Consort and Siobhán Armstrong, Aisling Kenny, Róisín Elsafty, Resurgam and more. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Festival of Different Futures
On 14–18 April, Louth Contemporary Music Society presented a five-day online festival featuring work by Sarah Hennies, Kevin Volans, Cornelius Cardew, Leo Brouwer and more. Brendan Finan reviews.
Many Sides to the Galway Cello
Music for Galway's inaugural Cellissimo festival, presented in partnership with Galway 2020, took place at the end of March, featuring seven days of cello concerts, workshops, talks, a Bill Whelan world premiere, an exhibition, and a new cello made in Galway. Brendan Finan reviews.
Exploring Musical Life in Ireland in the 1700s
Irish Baroque Orchestra's latest release 'The Trials of Tenducci', featuring Tara Erraught, uncovers a number of works with connections to music in Ireland in the eighteenth-century. Brendan Finan reviews.
A Society Rallying After the Silence
Louth Contemporary Music Society's new album features chamber works by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov and Raymond Deane. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Worlds Within a Single Work
Music for Galway's annual midwinter festival, which took place online at the weekend (22–24 January), focused on a single, relentlessly inventive work: the Goldberg Variations. Brendan Finan reviews.
No Obstacle for Erraught Online
The Irish mezzo Tara Erraught performed on 15 November at Dublin Castle as part of Irish National Opera's livestream series, Mezzo Masterpieces. Brendan Finan reviews.
Freefalling and Unfolding
Composer Ed Bennett's new album 'Psychedelia' includes a number of large-scale works and features Decibel, Kate Ellis, Eliza McCarthy and Jack McNeill. Brendan Finan reviews.
Against the Party Line of Western Music
Jennifer Walshe's recent album, 'A Late Anthology of Early Music Vol. 1: Ancient to Renaissance', uses Artificial Intelligence to reimagine the taught history of Western music. Brendan Finan reviews.
Circling Inwards
Andrew Hamilton's new album, 'Joy', on the Ergodos label, is a collection of solo works for violin and voice – performed by the composer himself. Brendan Finan reviews.
Dukas Beyond Disney
A recently published book by Laura Watson on the French composer Paul Dukas is the first full-length academic study of the artist in English and explores his range of music and his music criticism. Brendan Finan reviews.
Collins' New Collaboration
On Finghin Collins' latest release on Claves records, he is joined by Roseanne Philippens, Istvan Várdai and Máté Szücs for a performance of Mozart's two Piano Quartets. Brendan Finan reviews.