MUSIC FOR THE BOOK OF KELLS for 5 Percussion And Irish Pianist :
My Fulbright year in the U.S.A. had been long and wonderful.In summer 1990 then the University of Wisconsin Library commissioned
my new work to mark its acquisition of a beautiful Lucerne facsimile edition of the
Book of Kells.
My ( one movement ) work is an imaginative sound-scape of Early Medieval
Ireland with all its saints and sinners and druids and shamaans and churches
and battle-fields, a world of Homeric heroes and Christian mystics,
monastic asceticism and worldly colour.
It is no mere programmatic work
but an ” abstract ” composition in its own right. Here is terse
musical discourse with the eternally fresh sounds of beaten bronze,
metal, wood and steel.
TRAUERFELDER / GOIRT AN BHRÓIN for 4 Percussion :
These five short chapters in my book of pain, my “Fields Of Sorrow”,
were born in 1995 when the Hamburg Culture Minister , Christine Weiß,
asked me to compose music to commemorate the 50 th. anniversary of the
Hanseatic city´s Jewish community´s liberation from Auschwitz.
I protested :
“I am neither German nor Jewish”…. Yes, we Irish have had our full of
fields of sorrow ; and yet the mystery of this particula Black Hole is
something quite other.
Can music express suffering ? Horror? Yes, it can – Orpheus´s music
did. Also there is that of Marsyas ( the wind-player ) being flayed alive by
Apollo (- the string-player ) .
My five short chapters tell their own, different stories: in the first
, bells and vibraphone insist on the drums´ horrible message. Chains,
police-whistle and wood-blocks in the second initiate the chase. In the
third crotales get their hard blows , anti-melody on the vibraphone. (
Music is always metaphor) . Triangles are bright spots of pain. In the
last chapter , all lights dim.
The dead, muffled timpani, are alone.