Irish Music

Irish music, began with the spread of religious music through the engagement of Irish monks in the monasteries of what was then Europe in the 9th century.

From harp music to the “Messiah”

Nothing has survived from the heyday of music in the early Middle Ages; possibly the important treatise “Musica enchiriadis” (end of the 9th century) is related to Ireland. One of the most famous monks was Johannes Scotus Eriugena , from which the oldest news about the Organum comes. The first evidence of Irish music is only passed down from the 11th century and document an early example of vocal polyphony for the 12th century. The traditional folk music, on the other hand, shows a peculiar rhythm – it is determined by the Irish accentuating assonance poetry – and a richly ornamental manner of presentation. In addition to the lyre, Gaelic aristocrats were particularly skilled at the harp. She enjoyed great esteem at the English court in the 16th century, whereas O. Cromwell burned these instruments in the 17th century and left harpists hanging as potential revolutionaries. In addition, since the 15th century, a.o. a town piper tradition in Cork.

Since the defeat of the Irish in the Battle of Kinsale (1601), Irish music has lived on the legacy of the old days, which has been consciously cultivated since the beginning of the 18th century and which is also alive in modern times. The harp is a national instrument. Dublin became the center of a continentally influenced art music cultivation, which has also been observed by continental European musicians and composers since around 1700. Besides F. Geminiani and Tommaso Giordani (* 1730/33, † 1806) is also held GF Handel on for a long time in Dublin; his oratorio “The Messiah” was premiered there in 1742. These external influences are reflected, among other things. in the music of the blind bard Turlough Carolan (* 1670, † 1738). In addition, a diverse theatrical life flourished in the city with concerts, operas, oratorios and the specific form of ballad opera. As popular, put forward by men in friendly company vocal form which resolved Glees since the 17th century spread Catches from.

Irish national music and modernity

The emergence of national consciousness at the end of the 18th century was nipped in the bud by the Act of Union of 1800, which henceforth placed Ireland under British rule. Irish composers now worked mainly in England, while their homeland became culturally impoverished and folk music spread primarily. Among the most important composers of this period are J. Field and C. V. Stanford, who, in his orchestral works, pioneered Irish national music with his synthesis of Romanticism and Irish folklore. The Italian Michele Esposito (* 1855, † 1929) is considered to be the central figure of integration in the Irish music movement.who, as a pianist, composer and teacher, left a wide variety of traces at the end of the 19th century and, in 1897, brought the “Feis Ceoil Music Festival” into being, which is still held today. In this new spirit, A. Bax, who was born in Ireland and was closely connected to Ireland, and Aloys Fleischmann (* 1910, † 1992), who were of German descent,became pioneers of modern Irish music, as did Brian Boydell (* 1917, † 2000), Archibald James Potter (* 1918, † 1980) and H. Harty with works such as the »Irish Symphony«.

While most Irish composers remained closely connected to their homeland and therefore their impact is often regionally limited, the post-war generation has increasingly opened up to the international avant-garde since the 1950s. This generation includes z. B. Frank Corcoran (* 1944), Irish literature and history among others. also inspire electroacoustic works like Roger Doyle (* 1949); John Buckley (* 1951), best known as a piano composer, as well as the opera composers Gerald Barry (* 1952) and James Wilson (* 1922, † 2005) and the politically active Raymond Deane (* 1953). Gerard Victory (* 1821, † 1995) worked with serial techniques, while Fergus Johnston (* 1959) experimented with computer music and Piers Hellawell (* 1969), who interweaves the diversity of (except) European folklore into his very own style. In addition, female composers such as E. Maconchy and Joan Trimble (* 1915, † 2000) have made significant contributions to Irish music.

Various institutions are committed to music life and music care, such as the Music Association of Ireland, the Association of Irish Composers, the Contemporary Music Center and the Irish Academy of Creative Arts “Aosdána”. Dublin is today once again claiming its place as a cultural center with a symphony orchestra, a music academy and a diverse concert scene. The Wexford Opera Festival, founded in 1951 in the south-east of the country, enjoys an international reputation.

Folk and pop music

The rich treasure trove of Irish folk music is characterized by the frequent use of the five-step scale and the reference to Greek modes. The most famous folk dances are jig, reel and hornpipe. The national instrument is the harp, bagpipes, fiddle and flute are also used. Since folk music has been gaining more attention in the USA and Europe in general and has had some influence on rock music since the 1960s, v. a. Irish folk music is widely known worldwide. In addition, numerous folklore festivals prove to be cultural carriers. Leading ensembles include The Chieftains, The Dubliners, Altan and, at the beginning of their careers, Clannad as well as the group of accordion player Sharon Shannon (* 1968); The Clancy Brothers had a career in the USA and can be considered one of the pioneers of the folk music movement in the New World. Irish musicians also play a prominent role in rock music: the best known is certainly the band U2, but groups such as The Pogues, The Boomtown Rats, The Thrills and Thin Lizzy have also reached audiences around the world. Individual musicians include V. Morrison, the blues singer and guitarist R. Gallagher and the singer Enya (* 1961), actually Eithne Ni Bhraonain. In addition, Irish folk dances have been experiencing a worldwide boom since the late 1990s, triggered by the dancer M. Flatley and his shows “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance”, which has since found numerous imitators.

Irish Music