The Red Book of Ossory - Anakronos

The Red Book of Ossory - Anakronos

Thursday, 2 April 2020, 8.30pm

Renowned Virtuosi Blend Medieval Music, Jazz & Contemporary Classical Creating a Vital New Sound

Between 2nd and 10th April 2020, Anakronos will perform The Red Book of Ossory at five Irish arts centres; Wexford Arts Centre, Riverbank Arts Centre (Newbridge), Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, Project Arts Centre (Dublin) and The Dock (Carrick-on-Shannon). Anakronos premiered The Red Book of Ossory on 20th February 2019 at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. In addition to these performances Heresy Records ( will release an album of The Red Book of Ossory. The tour is made possible by a Touring and Dissemination Award from the Arts Council.

Anakronos was founded by singer Caitríona O’Leary in 2019 with the objective of creating an ensemble devoted to performing and recording compelling, accessible and moving performances of early music from a new and modern perspective. Anakronos creates virtuosic interpretations of rare and generally unknown works that engender an exciting interplay between the music of the past and today. The ensemble features five of Ireland and Europe’s leading interpreters of medieval music, contemporary classical, traditional and jazz: Caitríona O’Leary (Voice), Deirdre O’Leary (Clarinets), Nick Roth (Saxophones), Matthias Loibner (Hurdy Gurdy), and Mel Mercier (Percussion).

The Red Book of Ossory is an important 14th century medieval manuscript which was compiled in Kilkenny and is housed there in St Canice's Cathedral. Pre-eminent among the manuscript’s texts are sixty remarkable Latin poems by Richard de Ledrede, Bishop of Ossory. The bishop instructed that these lyrics be sung by the priests, clerks and choristers of the St Canice’s “on the important holidays and at celebrations in order that their throats and mouths, consecrated to God, may not be polluted by songs which are lewd, secular, and associated with revelry, and, since they are trained singers, let them provide themselves with suitable tunes according to what these sets of words require”. Accordingly, Caitríona O’Leary has set de Ledrede’s esoteric and imagistic poetry to music from a multitude of medieval sources.
RICHARD DE LEDREDE AND THE RED BOOK OF OSSORY Fourteenth century Ireland was a time of invasions, war, lawlessness, famine and plague. A time of fear, violence and almost unimaginable mutability.
In 1317 Richard de Ledrede – an English Franciscan of the Order of Friars Minor - arrived in Kilkenny as the new Bishop of Ossory (1317 – 1361) and immediately set about challenging the secular authorities and making a name for himself as a zealous moraliser and "scourge of heresy". He was responsible instigating and presiding over the famous witchcraft trial of Dame Alice Kyteler, composed a fantastical and nightmarish list of charges against her and others, and caused the first person in recorded history to be burned at the stake for the heresy of witchcraft; Dame Alice’s servant, Petronilla de Meath.
Caitríona O’Leary - Singer
Caitríona O’Leary is known internationally for her intense and passionate performances of Early Music and Traditional Irish song.

She has recorded over twenty critically acclaimed albums with her Trad band Dúlra, her Early Music performance ensemble eX & the ensembles Sequentia, The Harp Consort and Joglaresa amongst others. Her recording, The Wexford Carols, featuring guest artists Tom Jones, Rosanne Cash, and Rhiannon Giddens, reached #1 on the Billboard and Amazon charts.

She has worked closely with many of early music's leading artists including Christopher Hogwood, Ben Bagby, Andrew Lawrence King, Konrad Junghaenel and Pedro Memelsdorff.

Caitríona is also active in contemporary music. In November 2016 she performed and recorded Roger Doyle's new electronic opera, Heresy and is known for her performances of Irish language interpretations of the songs of Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, and Brecht/Weill for IMRAM, Féile Litríochta Gaeilge. She released an Irish version of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now (“transcreated” by Gabriel Rosenstock) as Ón Dá Thaobh in February 2020 and in October 2019 composed and performed a show based on a new Irish language version of the poetry of Sappho.

Caitríona has performed in such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and Cité de la Musique to name a few. Festival engagements include Halle Handel Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Tage Alter Musik Herne, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Tage Alter Musik Regensburg, Festival Cervantino Guanajuato, Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Zagreb Summer Evenings Festival, Split Summer Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, Belfast Festival at Queen’s, etc.

Nick Roth - Saxophones
Nick Roth is a saxophonist, composer, producer and educator.

He is artistic director of the Yurodny Ensemble and a partner at Diatribe Records, Ireland’s leading contemporary music label.
As a performer, his collaborations include work with Jennifer Walshe, Savina Yannatou, John Taylor, Iarla Ó Lionáird, M.C. Schmidt, Gavin Bryars, Bobby McFerrin, Tom Arthurs, Lucas Niggli, Kate Ellis, Mihály Borbély, Matthew Jacobson, Miklós Lukács, Francesco Turrisi, Cora Venus Lunny, Crash Ensemble, Alex Bonney, Petar Ralchev, Zohar Fresco, Alkinoos Ioannidis, Theodosii Spassov, and world premières of new works by composers Mamoru Fujieda, Alla Zagaykevych, Dan Trueman, Ian Wilson, Benjamin Dwyer, Panos Ghikas, Kamran Ince, Roger Doyle, Dan Trueman, Judith Ring, Mel Mercier, Linda Buckley, Ed Bennett, Onur Türkmen, Christian Mason, Francis Heery, Piaras Hoban and Elaine Agnew.
Deirdre O’Leary - Clarinets
Deirdre O’Leary studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and Accademia Chigiana, Siena. She has regularly played with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Wexford Opera Festival, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Since 2003 Deirdre has been a member of Crash Ensemble and has toured throughout Europe, Australia and the US and recorded for the Nonesuch label. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, with Dawn Upshaw and Iarla Ó Lionáird, the Barbican, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Edinburgh festival, and Dublin & Galway theatre festivals.

She is a founding member of Cassiopeia Wind Quintet. With Cassiopeia she has performed at the Galway Midwinter Festival with the Con Tempo Quartet, Rolf Hind, Lore Lixenberg; at the New Ross Piano Festival with Finghin Collins, Melvyn Tan, and Lise de la Salle; and at the Sligo Chamber Music Festival.

Matthias Loibner – Hurdy Gurdy
Is known as “the Jimi Hendrix of the hurdy gurdy”. After studies of composition, jazz-composition and conducting in Graz, he dedicated his work to the hurdy-gurdy. Starting on his own, he later followed lessons by Barbara Grimm, Valentin Clastrier, Riccardo Delfino and Gilles Chabenat. He won the 1st price at the "Concours des vielles et cornemuses" in St. Chartier 1994. Matthias Loibner teaches hurdy-gurdy and improvisation since 1994 and is also co-author of a hurdy-gurdy-method together with Riccardo Delfino. His occupation with different musical traditions led him to Austria, France, South-East Europe, Uganda, Mozambique and Australia.
He played live and recorded with deishovida, Sandy Lopicic Orkestar, Natasa Mirkovic, Tunji Beier, Linsey Pollak, dididumdum, Wild Marmalade, The Big Five, Caitríona O’Leary, Ross Daly, Riccardo Delfino, Alex Deutsch, DJ Shantel. In baroque music he works and worked with Christophe Coin & Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Le Concert Spirituel, Les Eclairs de Musique, Les Musiciens de Saint Julien, Riccardo Delfino and others. He wrote and participated in film and theatre music with Ernst M. Binder, Hubert v. Goisern, Manuela Soeiro, Henning Mankell and Dimiter Gotscheff.
Mel Mercier-Percussion
Mel Mercier is an award-winning composer, performer and educator. As one of the world’s leading Irish percussionists he has performed and recorded with many of the leading artists in this genre including Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Donal Lunny, Pallé Mikkleborg, Martin Hayes, Liam Ó Maonlaoi, Alan Stivell, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Caitríona O’Leary, Bill Whelan amongst many others. Currently he is Professor and Chair of Performing Arts at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.

Since 2000, Mercier has created scores and soundscapes for leading theatre practitioners, including director Deborah Warner, actor/director Fiona Shaw and director Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia/The Iron Lady). He works regularly with Cork theatre company, Corcadorca and Gare St Lazare Ireland, with whom he recently collaborated on Beckett’s prose work, How It Is (Part 1).

Other recent theatre compositions and sound designs include: Le Testament de Marie (Ódeon, Paris); CONCERT a new dance show with Colin Dunne (CND Paris/Dublin Dance Festival); King Lear with Glenda Jackson (Old Vic, London); The Tempest (Salzburg Festival); The Shadow of a Gunman (Abbey Theatre, Dublin); The Testament of Mary (Broadway/Barbican, London); Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Epidaurus, Greece/Old Vic Tunnels, London/Next Wave Festival at BAM, New York/Bouffes du Nord, Paris).

Awards include an Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Soundscape for the Corcadorca production of Caryl Churchill’s Far Away (2017); the Gradam Cheoil Award for Collaboration for Colin Dunne’s solo dance show CONCERT (TG4, 2018); the New York Festival Bronze Medal Award for his radio documentary, Peadar Mercier (RTÉ Doc on One, 2017); the New York Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award nomination for his sound score for Colm Tóibín’s Testament of Mary (Broadway 2012) amongst


En Christi Fit Memoria


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