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Tarik O'Regan: Acallam na Senorach

By Tarik O'Regan

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SATB, Guitar, Bodhran
Composed by Tarik O'Regan. Music Sales America. Book [Softcover]. Composed 2014. 99 pages. Novello & Co Ltd. #MUSNOV200772. Published by Novello & Co Ltd. (HL.14043265).

Item Number: HL.14043265

ISBN 9781780380711. 8.5 x 11.75 inches.

Acallam na Senorach, by Tarik O'Regan, was co-commissioned by the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and Peak Performances at Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey.

First performed on 25 November 2010, at St Ann's Church, Dublin, by the National Chamber Choir of Irelandwith Stewart French (Guitar), directed by Paul Hillier.

The Guitar part was edited by Stewart French.

Tarik O'Regan on the music:

In writing this musical setting of Acallam na Senorach I was drawn to the evenness of the dialogue. Instead of St Patricksimply converting the pagan warriors, he is encouraged to listen to Cailte's stories and poems of an earlier time, in which the saint delights.

This secular/sacred osmosis is maintained unwaveringly throughout the entire text. By the end of the narrative, one has witnessed not only the arrival of a new religion in Ireland, but also a richly-recounted secular narrative map of the entire island: the peaceful and enriching shaking of two great hands.

In preparing the libretto (the sung text), I have focused on only a few of the shorter constituent tales. This decision was born of the practical constraints of duration. I have, however, kept the skeleton, albeit smaller, of the overall frame in place. Finally, for the sake of simplicity, Oisin is removed from the primary narrative.

The characters are not assigned specific voices. The narrative as a whole is carried by a persistently changing combination of voices and guitar. The one exception is Cas Corach, the musician of the sid (underworld) who is most closely embodied, throughout this setting, in the solo interludes for guitar.

The music itself is not ethnographically inclined; that is, I have not attempted to reconstruct theories on Irish music of the period from which Acallam stems. However the score generally, and especially in the guitar writing, is imbued with an air.

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