'These are voices we need to hear': Louth Contemporary Music Society Festival Starts Today

Sarah Hennies’ ‘Contralto’ – to be streamed on Wednesday 14 April at 8pm.

'These are voices we need to hear': Louth Contemporary Music Society Festival Starts Today

‘We Sing for the Future’ takes place online and features work by Sarah Hennies, Fredrik Rasten, Mareike Yin-Yee Lee, Marc Sabat, Kevin Volans, Cornelius Cardew, Julian Anderson and Leo Brouwer.

Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS) will this week present seven online concerts as part of the ‘We Sing for the Future’ festival. The event, which runs from today (14 April) until Sunday, will feature works from Irish and international composers, and all concerts are free to view on the LCMS website. 

The first event of the festival will stream online this evening at 8pm, and is a one-hour work for video, strings and percussion titled Contralto by composer Sarah Hennies. The work blends experimental music with documentary, as it features a cast of transgender women speaking, singing and performing vocal exercises, accompanied by a score of conventional and ‘non-musical’ approaches to sound. Tomorrow (15 April), the festival will present experimental composer and guitarist Fredrik Rasten’s Six Moving Guitars, performed by his own ensemble on acoustic guitars. The piece is a musical and visual work that looks at the interplay of choreography and sound. 

On 16 April, LCMS presents See Hear, a video work by visual artist Mareike Yin-Yee Lee, created to complement Canadian composer Marc Sabat’s Gioseffo Zarlino, a work for composition for voice, strings, harp and flute performed by Berlin-based ensemble the Harmonic Space Orchestra. The world premiere of South African-born Irish composer Kevin VolansLenguas de Fuego (Tongues of Fire), for string quartet with flute and percussion, will take place on 17 April at 5pm. ‘Except for brief patches where the note values stretch out, ’ writes Paul Griffiths in the concert note, ‘the entire two-movement work goes at high speed, driving, as so often in Volans’s music, on the slightly bent wheels of misalignment and inexact repetition.’ 

Works by Cardew
Pianist Michael McHale will play experimental composer Cornelius Cardew’s protest song ‘We Sing for the Future’, along with Cardew’s arrangement of the Irish folk ballad ‘The Croppy Boy’ on 17 April. In the same concert, contemporary ensemble Apartment House will perform Laurence Crane’s Old Life Was Rubbish, while flautist Fiona Kelly and McHale will also perform Crane’s Gli Anni Prog

On the final day of the festival (18 April), German violin virtuoso Carolin Widmann will perform a number of works including British composer Julian Anderson’s Another Prayer, as well as music by Hildegard von Bingen, George Benjamin, Hans Abrahamsen, Salvatore Sciarrino, Bach and Telemann. 

The closing concert of We Sing for the Future will be a performance dedicated to the music of Cuban composer and guitarist Leo Brouwer. Guitarist Andrey Lebedev and cellist Cecilia Bignall will first play a selection of Brouwer’s music from London’s Cafe OTO, including Ciudad de las Columnas. Then, performing from Drogheda, guitarist Alec O’Leary and his guitar quartet will present the world premiere of Brouwer’s Irish Landscape with Rain, a piece initially written for last year’s cancelled festival. They will also perform Brouwer’s Cuban Landscape with Rain before O’Leary will perform solo Cuban Landscape with Bells and the world premiere of Dorian it is too late – a new piece in homage of Oscar Wilde.

Speaking about the festival, director Eamonn Quinn said: 

We Sing for the Future presents composers from Ireland and other parts of the world, across a range of traditions and perspectives, united only by their music’s immediacy and urgency. These are voices we need to hear, and listen to, especially at such times. Performances are in the hands of musicians who can bring the music to vivid life, despite the circumstances, despite everything.

All concerts are free to view; donations are encouraged. For more, visit: www.louthcms.org/concertseries2021/

Published on 14 April 2021

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