'If Something is New, It’s New to All of Us': Rhona Clarke on Her Music and Musings Concert
The new series of Galway Music Residency’s Music and Musings concerts, which take place on 8 and 23 November, will feature composers Rhona Clarke and Greg Caffrey.
Music & Musings presents works by composers and guest artists in an intimate setting, combining music and discussion. For the concert this Thursday, at the Mick Lally Theatre, Clarke programmed works to go alongside her 2017 string quartet Edge (a Music Network commission), which was chosen by the performers Con Tempo Quartet. She told The Journal of Music that she selected Pas de Quatre, written almost ten years earlier, as a good potential talking point.
One of the interesting things about those two compositions is that there is almost a decade between them – compositionally they are quite different. These pieces are actually quartets 2 and 3: the first string quartet [Magnificat] was written in 1990, so a much bigger gap! That one is over half an hour long. The second one [Pas de Quatre] is just over ten minutes long, and the third is about six minutes. The first one, structurally, has a number of different sections and different styles within those sections; I think it’s not just that Edge is shorter, it’s also more compact in every way.
‘Listen in a new way’
Discussion is an important part of the Music and Musings concert – Edge will be performed twice, with a talk about the work in between performances chaired by the Contemporary Music Centre’s Linda O’Shea Farren. Clarke, who has had a number of works discussed this way through taking part in the Cork Choral Festival’s seminars, welcomes this chance to find a new way in to new music.
It’s a good idea – if something is new, it’s new to all of us. To hear it a second time it gives you a chance to listen in a new way, especially if there has been some focus on it, verbally, in between.
The second work, Pas de Quatre, has a Galway connection, as it was co-commissioned by Galway Music Residency and the Contemporary Music Centre, the result of a competition. It is also the first work Clarke composed that has a visual element, consisting of drawings and photographs by artist Marie Hanlon, who has become a regular collaborator since.
Music and Musings is presented in collaboration with the CMC. The second concert, on 23 November, will feature the world premiere of a work by Greg Caffrey recently commissioned by Galway Music Residency, titled …borne back ceaselessly into the past.
For more, visit www.thegalwaymusicresidency.com.