Circling the Square 2010

neilIn 2009/10, BMS’s annual education project was based around the theme of Folk Inspirations – the central theme of the BMS Festival – and was designed to involve participants from both classical and traditional musical backgrounds.

The aims of the project were to involve participants from different musical backgrounds, to broaden their musical experience by extending their performance styles, to commission a new work from a local composer, and to present a public performance of the work by the participants as part of the 2010 Festival.

Composer Neil Martin wrote a new work, entitled Dhá Thrá and made new arrangements of two traditional tunes (O’Farrell’s Welcome to Limerick and Planxty Hewlett) for an ensemble of 11 players. He entitled the whole project ‘Circling the Square’, to acknowledge the affinity between the seemingly disparate musical traditions that the project included.

The ensemble were:

Stephen Cullen (violin)
Nuala McBride (fiddle)
Rosie Ferguson (fiddle)
Maebh Martin (violin)
Seighean Darryl (viola)
Lizzie Donaghy (cello)
Kathy Hetherington (oboe)
Clodagh Holland (irish flute)
Claire McGrath (piano)
Richard Allen (irish harp)
Ciara Taaffe (irish harp)

The final performance took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Belfast, on 21 February 2010. The performance was preceded by a brief public workshop of the two pieces, with Neil explaining his own background and approach to classical and traditional music to the audience before introducing the players and leading the performance.

The ensemble came together again to make an archive recording of Dhá Thrá and O’Farrell’s Welcome with the assistance of student Michael Barr and Technical Manager Chris Corrigan, from Queen’s School of Music and Sonic Arts.

      1. Dhá Thrá & O'Farrell's Welcome

 

The project was generously supported by the Ernest Cook Trust.