|Familiar look to headliners|
Galway Sinfonietta at Bailey Allen Hall
Tara Connaghan and Derek McGinley at Monroe's
An Aural Visual Affair by the T'ang Quartet St Nicholas Church
On swift sail flaming From storm and south He comes, pale vampire Mouth to my mouth.
from Ulysses Joyce
Wedged in between the departure of the yachting crews and the arrival of the horsey set, Galwegians play host to an annual arts festival and I paid my first visit on Saturday.
|Alex Ross of The New Yorker|
Alex Ross, author of Listen to This and The Rest is Noise and music critic of the New Yorker, brandishing a copy of the 1999 magazine containing his essay , The Wanderer on Bob Dylan. Anticipating his next book, Ross delivered a paper, outlining some resonances in James Joyces' work with Wagnerian operas with particular reference to Ulysses and the |Flying Dutchman. Ross's passion for the language of literature shone through particularly in this live experience as he effortlessly peppered his talk with quotations from a diverse range of sources including poetry by Douglas Hyde, and the English translations of Wagnerian operas from the Carla Rosa Opera Co archives, regular visitors to the Gaiety in Dublin. A fellow attendee remarked to me that the scale and diversity of cross references in Ross's work are reminiscent of the Wagnerian tome, Ulysses itself. Despite Ross's efforts, the event felt a bit flat, with an air of a specialist post grad seminar rather than a buzzy mainstream literary event. The venue with its huge elegant windows at each end was rather large for the assembly and we could have done with firmer anchoring to steer the event to a fitting close. Where is David Norris when you need him.
Nearby in the Bailey Allen Hall, the community orchestra, The Galway Sinfonietta, performed a free concert under the umbrella of the Galway Fringe Festival. Opening with a saxophone concerto by Glazunov featuring Bertrand Fougeres and including works by Finzi, Romberg and Dvorak, there was a good attendance to support the group conducted by John Roe. Anxious not to miss the first part of the T'ang Quartet's presentation, I arrived just in time at the packed St. Nicholas's church and found a seat near the front all the better to appreciate the cinematic effects of the entertainment. However, maybe suspecting that less resilient audience members might slope off to the pub after the Buster Keaton segment, the order of the programme had been reversed to that advertised and we had an hour of 20th century string quartet repertoire before the heralded cinematic element.
The cellist, Leslie Tan of the Singapore based ensemble gave cheerful introductions to the items setting the context of the works drawing on less than cheerful themes of funerals and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. While quartets by Sallinen and Bright Sheng were well received as you might expect in a city that boasts its own resident quartet and there was some thrilling string playing and a sense of joyful communion within the ensemble, it was rather too rich for my palate . The score accompaniment by French composer, Baudine -Jam to the 1921silent classic, Haunted House was delightful and indeed there were peals of laughter in the aisles of St Nicholas. However for an event titled An Aural Visual Affair, the item was all too brief with a running time of 15 minutes or so and one would have thought with the projector in place, we might enjoyed another in the same vein. It was a bit like advertising a three course meal by leading with the promise of pudding.
I caught some of Tara Connaghan's and Derek McGinley's lunchtime session in Monroe's. Tara is well known in Clare as a former county Arts Officer. The duo, exponents of a Donegal style of fiddle playing, mixed jigs and reels, slow airs mazurkas and waltzes adding some personal anecdotes for an appreciative audience. Both of them speak here of their route in to fiddle playing and the role of family members in developing their skills.
Movies at the Christchurch Cathedral Morgan Cooke and Faust
Wagner/ Joyce from Alex Ross' blog The Rest is Noise