Monday, November 4, 2013

"WB Yeats: Words for Music Perhaps" 2, with Bill Whelan, Jim Flannery, Olwen Fouere and Donnacha Dennehy airing on RTE Lyric FM on November 15th

Programme 2 is coming together now - phew!  It features a nice relaxed chat between greats, composer Bill Whelan and Yeats legend Jim Flannery.  There are funny anecdotes, deep stuff, and interesting revelations.  I won't be giving them away here.  We're also lucky to have the extraordinary Olwen Fouere on board, revisiting Yeats extracts, and sharing her insights and experiences with us.  Photos of her rehearsal/recording with Jim Flannery below.  Check out his book!  Then to top it all off, we have composer Donnacha Dennehy speaking to us from Princeton about his Yeats settings, written for Dawn Upshaw on "Gra agus Bas".    :-)

Thanks to Patrick Sutton of Smock Alley Theatre for kindly lending us the rehearsal space. 

WB Yeats: Words for Music Perhaps (2), will be broadcast on RTE Lyric FM at 7pm on Friday November 15th, 2013, and will be available afterwards as a podcast.
Jim Flannery & Olwen Fouere at The Boys' School Smock Alley Theatre

Olwen Fouere and Jim Flannery discuss WB Yeats

Olwen Fouere and Jim Flannery revisit WB Yeats at Smock Alley

Olwen Fouere as Aoife with Ciaran Hinds as Cuchulainn in 1989

Two decades on, Jim Flannery and Olwen Fouere revisit WB Yeats in 2013

Olwen Fouere as Cathleen Ni Houlian, 1990

Composer Bill Whelan

Prof JW Flannery and his Yeats book.
Composer Donnacha Dennehy

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"WB Yeats: Words for Music Perhaps", Programme One Featuring DIT Conservatory of Music reconstructions & "Everlasting Voices" for RTE Lyric FM nearly there!

OK, as I write this, and upload these random iphone photographs of recordings of forgotten scores by Walter Morse Rummel, Edmund Dulac, and Dr. John Larchet for WB Yeats plays with the DIT Conservatory of Music [recorded and edited by DIT's Ben Rawlins],on April 19th and June 28th, Tom Hickey's narration of programme one is being mixed by sound engineer supremo John Davis.  Very exciting! I thought this day would never get here, but I think it is now safe to say that we are well and truly nearly there.  Huge thanks to all at DIT for their kind contribution to the programme - Kerry Houston, Cliona Doris, Julie Maisel, David Scott, Arun Rao, Tom Doorley, Noel Eccles and Ben Rawlins.  Also thanks to "Everlasting Voices" team William Brooks, Nuala Hayes, and Paul Roe.  All going according to plan, you will be able to hear the first of two one hour documentaries "WB Yeats: Words for Music Perhaps" on Friday week, November 8th on RTE Lyric FM in their 7pm "Lyric Feature" slot.  
DIT Conservatory of Music on June 28th, 2013

Singer David Scott, June 28th, 2013

Cliona Doris, Julie Maisel, & Noel Eccles on June 28th, 2013

Here is what to expect: In WB Yeats: Words for Music Perhaps Jim Flannery, Bill Whelan, Donnacha Dennehy, DIT Conservatory of Music, and other Yeats luminaries shine light on the little known role of music in Yeats’ “magical revolution”.  Programme One narrated by Tom Hickey.

In the hope of effecting a democratic, “magical revolution”, not only did WB Yeats evolve a philosophy of chanting his verse, but he also commissioned avant-garde composers Walter Morse Rummel and George Antheil to write music for his plays. What was his relationship to music?  Riverdance composer Bill Whelan and director Jim Flannery reconsider their 1990s Yeats season at the Abbey in light of the first ever recordings of Rummel’s and Edmond Dulac’s forgotten scores, performed by DIT Conservatory of Music. What was WB Yeats – said by many to be tone deaf - hearing in his inner ear? Contributors include Ron Schuchard, Margaret Mills Harper, Donnacha Dennehy, Cliona Doris, Noel Eccles, Olwen Fouere, Harry White, Emilie Morin, Charles Timbrell, and Declan Kiberd.
DIT Conservatory of Music, June 28th, 2013
Walter Morse Rummel's as yet unheard score for "The Dreaming of the Bones"
Cliona Doris & Tom Doorley, April 19th, 2013

RIAM Rehearsal of "Everlasting Voices" by William Brooks, Oct 23rd, 2013
"Everlasting Voices"
"Everlasting Voices"
We were also extremely lucky to find "Everlasting Voices" a new composition by William Brooks, featuring Nuala Hayes on auto-harp, and clarinettist Paul Roe, inspired by WB Yeats and Florence Farr's experiments on "Speaking to the Psaltery".  They kindly allowed us to record their rehearsal at Dublin's Royal Irish Academy of Music last Wednesday, October 23rd  before their lunchtime lecture/performance there.  Here are some pictures of their most fascinating and rather beautiful project:

Nuala Hayes plays auto-harp in "Everlasting Voices"
Margaret Mills Harper, Director of the Yeats Summerschool
Florence Farr, and her Psaltery, made by Arnold Dolmetsch
WB Yeats in 1923

"Everlasting Voices" by William Brooks at RIAM

Thanks too, to Irish Theatre Institute for allowing us to rehearse the VO for programme one there.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"My Art Education" on RTE Sunday Miscellany

"Palette", by Tony Cragg
Life is busy right now and I am in the Yeats-zone, in production with my imminent pair of radio documentaries "WB Yeats: Words for Music Perhaps".  This morning we recorded a wonderful conversation with greats composer Bill Whelan and theatre director Jim Flannery on their five-year annual Yeats season at the Abbey theatre.  Last week we enjoyed Yeatsian conversation with Donnacha Dennehy on his extraordinary Yeats settings; with Margaret Mills Harper on Yeats, Music, Magic and other stuff; and with Charles Timbrell on the intriguing Walter Morse Rummel who wrote the original score for The Dreaming of the Bones.  Next week we chat about the Abbey Orchestra and other related topics with Harry White, as well as with Emilie Morin, Ron Schuchard (Author of The Last Minstrels - check out the e-book version), and musicologist Aileen Dillane.  We're looking forward to it.  And next Saturday, October 12th promises a very special recording session I'll tell you about later!   So watch this space!  Or should I say - listen...
"Outspan", by Tony Cragg

"Eroded Landscape" by Tony Cragg.  From an exhibition entitled "Things Organised Neatly", funnily enough!

"Choose your Colours Carefully", by Tony Cragg
"Five Bottles", by Tony Cragg
In the meantime, here is a link to my latest contribution to RTE Sunday Miscellany, entitled "MY ART EDUCATION", involving a Turner Prize winning sculptor based in Wuppertal, Joseph Beuys, Pina Bausch, and butter - among other contributions that are well worth a listen:!rii=9:10201406:68:29-09-2013:
 SUNDAY MISCELLANY 29 September 2013   
New short writing:
The Roundabouts – a poem by Pat Boran
Riverrun by Gemma Tipton
Seán Lester by Maurice Cashell
My Art Education by Deirdre Mulrooney
St. Cyril and a cottage near Lanesboro by Jack Harte
Seamus Heaney in Heaven – a poem by Iggy McGovern
Prelude in G Flat by Sergei Rachmaninov with James Rhodes (piano)
Aria from Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by
Jens Schöwing’s trio project
The Trout by Franz Schubert sung by Olaf Bär
Adagio from Sonata for Violin and Piano by Leo Janacek with Victoria Mullova (violin) and Piotr Anderszewski (piano)
The Ariel Hornpipe / Eleanor Kane’s Blue performed by Manus McGuire(Fiddle), Denis Morrison(piano) and Garry Ó Briain( guitar)

PS I pick the above images, all (except the Kerrygold), sculptures by Tony Cragg, because I like them, and, they all seem to involve tidying, and cleaning utensils...  You will understand the relevance better if you clean your conscience by listening to my radio essay!  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Comhtharluint Iontach" / A Lovely Coincidence, on RTE Sunday Miscellany

As over in Germany Longford-born Marguerite Donlon launches her 4th International Dance Festival n.o.w. dance saar with a world première of her newest choreography, »Wings« on Thursday, 3rd of October 2013 at the theatre tent in front of the Saarland State Theatre - listen back here to my contribution to RTE Sunday Miscellany, "Comhtharluint Iontach", broadcast last Sunday, about being randomly thrown together with this lrish dance prodigy at Irish College in Colaiste Columba, An Ceathru Rua, at the tender age of twelve, many moons ago! 
Click here to listen - it's the last story on the programme:

Sunday Miscellany 15 September 2013

New short essays:
Kathleen Lynn by Art Ó Súilleabháin
Leonard Cohen by Roslyn Dee
Sister, sister by Lucy Montague Moffatt
Pilgrimage to Hampstead by Jack Harte
Comhtharlúint Iontach / A Lovely Coincidence by Deirdre Mulrooney
Courante from Partita No. 4 in D Major by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by Glenn Gould (piano)
I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen
Romance Larghetto from Horn Concerto No 1 in E Flat Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed by Barry Tuckwell ( French Horn) with the English Chamber Orchestra
Song Without words Opus 109 by Felix Mendelssohn performed by Antonio Meneses (cello) and Gerard Wyss ( piano )!rii=9:10197306:68:15-09-2013:

1943 - A Dance Odyssey at Druid Lane Theatre for Galway Culture Night!

I'm delighted that 1943 - A Dance Odyssey has been selected to be screened alongside greats like "Pina" and "NY Export: Opus Jazz" in "An Evening of Dance" at Druid Lane Theatre, Druid Lane, Galway on Culture Night - September 20th, 2013 from 6.00pm - 10.00pm

Galway Dance Project was established in 2011 to support the development of dance in Galway. On Culture Night it will present a series of free dance showings and screenings in an informal atmosphere at Druid’s beautiful theatre. Beginning at 6pm, a number of Galway’s contemporary dance artists will perform excerpts of work in development where audience members will be invited to come and go as they please, ask questions or give feedback on the work.

Dancers on the night will include Genevieve Ryan, Berni Divilly, Katarzyna Voetter, Daniel Howe and Caoilfhionn De Bhaldraithe with music by Mr. Ebby. The showings will begin at 6pm and run until 7.30pm and run again from 8pm until 9.30pm. This is a perfect opportunity to develop a greater interest and understanding in contemporary dance practices and performance as well as a greater intimacy with the Galway based dance community.

As part of the evening, a reception will also be hosted by Galway Dance Project to announce its forthcoming programme running September to December 2013. Refreshments will be provided in the foyer of Druid Lane Theatre and attendees can enjoy a glass of wine together with their dance experience.

Also on the night, a series of local, national and international dance films will be screened Backstage at Druid Lane Theatre.

The films: 6pm Pina is a tribute to choreographer, Pina Bausch, in which her dancers perform her most famous creations.  8pm: NY Export: Opus Jazz   is a vibrant new film adaptation of a classic work, conceived by New York City Ballet soloists Ellen Bar and Sean Suozzi. shot in visually dynamic locations around New York City and set to an evocative jazz score, the ballet follows the daily lives of disaffected urban youth. Blending jazz and ballroom dancing with Latin, African and American rhythms, it is a masterpiece of dance, with a powerfully expressive, sexy and contemporary style.
9pm: 1943 – A Dance Odyssey explores a forgotten reel of film by Irish film industry founder Liam O Laoighaire showing a mysterious modern dancer teaching her tiny pupils in her Harcourt Street studio and dancing freely in the open air in his 1943 “Dance School”. Seventy years on, Deirdre Mulrooney’s documentary discovers who were these tiny dancers and where did the dance of life take them? 

Finally at 9.30pm:  Siul, piece produced and created by Galway based dancer, Berni Divilly, considers the walk of survival and transcendence across time and space.

Tell your Galway friends, and get there if you can!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dance Emergency Shoot; Dance Odyssey on Bigger Screen in Bealtaine Festival; Tree Duet in TickKnock's Save our Forests Sun

It has been a busy few months.  We boarded our Tardis, and got the drama/dance recreations of 1940s Dublin for Dance Emergency (the TG4 Splanc documentary), in the can.  Not only that, we got it in there with the legendary Olwen Fouere re-incarnating 1940s Modern Dance pioneer Erina Brady.  Hooray!
Merrion Square 1940s Flash Mob
Just as I had hoped, Olwen was uncannily perfect as Erina Brady.  With the help of choreographer Jessica Kennedy (of, we managed to recreate a very spooky version of Mary Wigman's iconic "Hexentanz", as well as other choreographies Brady would have performed in Dublin.  There are also a few others we imagine she may have created.  The idea was to find a point where all of our aesthetics intersect - Olwen's; Jessica's; and what we imagine Erina Brady's aesthetic may have been.  (Oh yes, and mine too).
Choreographer Jessica Kennedy photographed by Dragana Jurisic

This translated into a barefoot tree flash mob in Merrion Square exactly one month ago today - on that freezing cold, hailstone-y Friday, May 10th (remember?).

Ingrid Nachstern and Olwyn Lyons dance in Merrion Square
We were so blessed to have dedicated dancers Ingrid Nachstern, and Olwyn Lyons; and from the College of Dance in Monkstown (where Joanna Banks is Director), Georgia Begbie, Shauneen Beggan, Caoimhe Ennis, and Orlaith Carr on board for that test of dance vocation.  During the hailstones, they would practice the choreography under the big trees.  The second the sun came out they would dash out on the cold, wet grass, and dance like it was the sunniest, warmest, most wonderful day we ever had! They were truly awesome. 

1940s Flash Mob in Merrion Square
Looking at these photographs you'd imagine it was a perfect summer's day.  Trust me, it was not.  And not only that, these trojans never so much as complained.  It's inspiring to see that level of professionalism and commitment.  Plus the dance looks wonderful too.
Tree Dance in Merrion Square

I was thrilled to work with the mighty Una Kavanagh again too [since our last collaboration, "ShesaWhore" in Project Cube in 2001]. Una played Reverend Mother alongside her TATSOI collaborator Niamh Shaw.  Niamh and Una make a very convincing pair of 1940s Brigidine nuns, I have to say - which is quite chilling when you think about their contribution to "Laundry".  Other College of Dance pupils played the convent girls in Jacqueline Robinson's 1940s modern dance class [taught by dancer Karen Gleeson as Robinson].  The main challenge for these accomplished, well-trained dancers - Sarah Hanley, Aifric McKinley, Jessica Concannon, Karen McNamara, Hannah Greene, Megan McEvoy, Aoife Ledwith, and the aforementioned - was not to look as good at dancing as they actually are.
Una Kavanagh and Niamh Shaw

In our Bohemian Tardis back to forgotten 1940s Dublin, dancer Lucia Kickham portrayed Ireland's first home-grown modern dancer, June Fryer.
Lucia Kickham and Karen Gleeson photographed by Dragana Jurisic

Lucia and Karen performed a gorgeous duet in our make-believe recreation of a so-called "Bottle and Pyjama" party, hosted by Olwen as Erina, to a fabulous cast of real-life Bohemians including Helen McNulty, Marc Brady, Liadain Herriott, Megan Kennedy, Dragana Jurisic, Caoimhin O Briain, Gary Farrelly, and more arty bohos.  No acting required.

Bottle & Pyjama Party photographed by Dragana Jurisic
Dance Emergency has also been graced with the epic talents of gorgeous Zena Donnelly as young Erina; Tom Hickey, as Erina's cousin Tom Brady, and Peter Sheridan, who takes a genius turn as the detective.   So as you can imagine I can't wait to get into the edit next Monday June 17th and see how this all cuts together.  Lan ar aghaidh!
Dragana Jurisic and Megan Kennedy photographed by Dragana Jurisic

In the meantime I've been transcribing interviews, and planning it all out.  I've also been sorting the fundit film awards - namely, prints relating to "1943 - A Dance Odyssey", with the help and advice in this case of fine art printers, Inspirational Arts.   So if you are one of the generous believers who is waiting for one of these, rest assured the pigment print is drying and it will soon be wending its way in your direction. 

It was a total thrill on May 28th, to see the fruits of this labour, "1943 - A Dance Odyssey", for the first time on the big screen as part of Bealtaine Festival at Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun.  The audience was wonderful, comprising many of the performers from CoisCeim Dance Theatre's preceding "Dance Across Dublin" show, who were lapping it up, and appreciating the presence of the impressive Ann Fryer/Walsh.  Ann was one of the tiny tots in the 1943 film, and currently teaches keep fit classes across Dublin herself in the Fitness League.  As one of the audience members astutely pointed out, Ann is a real advertisement for Modern Dance as an art form.  From my own point of view, it was amazing to hear a live audience respond wholeheartedly to the film - laughing, ooh-ing, ahh-ing, and generally empathising. 
Tree Duet, TickKnock, with Olwyn Lyons and Ingrid Nachstern

Coincidentally, in something like a full circle since Richard Boyd Barrett kindly opened the Bohemians Exhibition at European Union House in memory of June Fryer, on May 9th, 2012 [see below], yesterday afternoon, at his TickKnock "Save our Forests" event, our eco-dancers Olwyn Lyons and Ingrid Nachstern reprised Jessica Kennedy's aforementioned "Erina Brady Tree Dance" choreography from Dance Emergency in a gorgeous "Tree Duet" to "Pass this On" by cool Swedish band "The Knife".  The weather was much better this time around! I'm sure Erina Brady would have been happy with that, and maybe was hovering around  in some other benevolent dimension.  But that's just the friendly tree-loving ghosts...
Tree Duet, with Ingrid Nachstern and Olwyn Lyons

Speaking of ghosts - in other news, my BAI funded Yeats radio project "Words for Music Perhaps" is also happening...  More of which soon enough.  Watch this spooky space... Woo, woo.
Tree Duet, with Ingrid Nachstern and Olwyn Lyons

Oh and one other thing - in the meantime, after the Dance Emergency Shoot, Dublin Dance Festival 2013 ran from May 14th - 28th.  I was happy to be invited on to RTE Radio One's "Arts Tonight" with Vincent Woods, to discuss the proceedings with Seona Mac Reamoinn.  (I told you it has been busy).  Here is a link if you'd like to listen back to the podcast:

And all of that without even mentioning the whole lettuce and purple sprouting broccoli phenomenon in my urban back yard.  I'll save that for another day.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bohemians' Final Interactive Airing at Limerick's Limetree Theatre: April 16th - 30th, 2013

Thanks to organisers Loic Guyon, head of Dept of French at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick [2nd from left, pictured with his wife, Anissa], Marie Hackett, Board Member of the Alliance Francaise de Limerick [2nd from right]; & to Prof Meg Harper, of UL [3rd from right, pictured with her husband, Rick], who opened the exhibition. Also pictured is Mairead Ni Bhriain, of Dept of French at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.
Thanks to the Alliance Francaise de Dublin for designing this wonderful poster, and to The Limetree Theatre, Limerick for hosting this, the first exhibition in their foyer. 

Thanks to legendary actor Pat Laffan for kindly reading six of Jacqueline Robinson's poems "Songs from my Heart", which can be heard via the magic of the spectator's mobile phone, & QR Code technology. 

From Galatea, read by Pat Laffan
Invocation, read by Pat Laffan

Sequentia 2, read by The Curator
Sequentia 1, read by Pat Laffan

The Unexpected, read by Pat Laffan
Verses at Night, read by Pat Laffan

Verses in Derision, read by Pat Laffan