Brendan Finan is a teacher and writer. Visit www.brendanfinan.net.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The opening night of Irish National Opera's production of Vivaldi's 'Bajazet' took place in Navan this week. Brendan Finan reviews.
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.
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.
Composer Ian Wilson's new album 'Echoes and Shadows', which focuses on works for violins, was released recently on Farpoint Records. Brendan Finan reviews.
A new version of 'Least Like the Other' by Brian Irvine and Netia Jones premiered in Dublin this month. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Galway orchestra Luminosa recently premiered a new adventurous work by Sam Perkin as part of its second 'Arcadia' concert. Brendan Finan reviews.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Louth Contemporary Music Society's new album features chamber works by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov and Raymond Deane. Brendan Finan reviews.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new collection of Irish-language art songs, written by a range of Irish and international composers, is being premiered in three concerts at the National Concert Hall. Brendan Finan reviews the first concert which took place on 15 February.
Donnacha Dennehy's famine-themed work 'The Hunger' received its European premiere in Dublin last week. Brendan Finan reviews.
Lau fiddle-player Aidan O'Rourke has just released his fifth solo album, twenty-five tune compositions in response to the stories of James Robertson, accompanied by jazz pianist Kit Downes. Brendan Finan reviews.
Louth Contemporary Music Society's festival focussed on the work of Kaija Saariaho this year (21–22 June), with the composer in attendance. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Colin Currie Quartet gave the Irish premiere of Kevin Volans' '4 Marimbas' at the recent Great Music in Irish Houses festival, as well as performances of works by Reich, Pereira, Xenakis and Stockhausen. Brendan Finan reviews.
Louth Contemporary Music Society presented the world premiere of Canadian composer Nicole Lizée's 'Spielberg Études' at Drogheda Arts Festival on 4 May, as well as her 'Hitchcock Études' and 'Kubrick Études'. Brendan Finan reviews the unique audio-visual works.
We’re trained to think of musical winters in a certain way, writes Brendan Finan, but Ergodos' latest release, featuring the Ficino Ensemble and a new work by Garrett Sholdice, brings the unexpected.
Irish National Opera's current production of 'Madama Butterfly', exploring themes of exploitation and naïveté, works extremely well – sometimes disconcertingly so, writes Brendan Finan.