AMONG MY SOUVENIRS
I was just about to fling it away on the rubbish-heap of history, my CEOL – A Journal Of Irish Music, of April 1983, published in Dublin by the
Department of Education.
Then on the back-cover something caught my eye among the advertised publications of ” AN GUM”, that Department’s publishing house:
” DAN AIMHIRGIN – Seandan Gaelach le leaganacha Nua Ghaeilge, Ghearmainis agus Bearla .
Ceol le Frank Corcoran .
Praghas 80 Pingneacha . ”
” AIMHIRGIN’s SONG – Ancient Irish poem with versions in Modern Irish, German and English.
The music by Frank Corcoran.
Price : 80 Pence. ”
( My keyboard hasn’t got the necessary ” fada”s for the Irish . The Old Gaelic script, close to that of the Book of Kells. )
My hand faltered. Shivered. So my old Dept. of Education had had the gall to publish my choral Opus 1 ? Which the Goethe Institut had commissioned in the early seventies… – With such friends, who needed enemies, I thought. So much for ” publishing”; and for publishing in Irish in Ireland. “An GUM” was hardly the
most exciting or imaginative propagator of my tender score in my depressed Ireland of my seventies in my Dublin.
And yet. I was, I think, the first composer to set this pre-Christian, polytheistic text, the self-definition of the Celtic god of poetry , Aimhirgin.
With my vast, in-a-beehive mutterings of the score’s sixteen sopranoes and sixteen altos singing very softly ” Am gaoth i muir ” ( ” I am the wind on the
sea” ) before the high tenors trumpet it, I had, well, achieved high, choral ecstasy.
I’ll keep that old back-cover from April 1983
Fight that black sea of oblivion.
Hurrah for choral ecstasy.