St Patrick’s Weekend
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra presents
The Music of Shaun Davey
The Brendan Voyage and The Relief of Derry Symphony
with soloists including Liam O’Flynn, Rita Connolly
and bagpipers from the Neilston and District Pipe Band
On the weekend celebrating St Patrick’s Day, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will, on Friday 15 March 2013, perform two major works by the award-winning Irish composer Shaun Davey at the National Concert Hall. Thirty years after its Irish premiere, the orchestra will perform the epic and groundbreaking musical drama that is The Brendan Voyage, a powerful musical narrative for uilleann pipes and symphony orchestra based on Tim Severin’s Atlantic crossing in a medieval leather-skinned boat, featuring uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn for whom the piece was written in 1980. With this, The Relief of Derry Symphony, the work which has come to be known as the Symphony of Peace, with soloists including Rita Connolly, Liam O’Flynn, Gerard McChrystal and four bagpipers from the Glaswegian Neilston and District Pipe Band led by Pipe Major Iain MacDonald.
The Brendan Voyage, vividly depicting St Brendan’s journey from Ireland to the New World in a tiny leather boat, continues to attract audiences worldwide. With the bellows-powered uilleann pipes depicting the voice of the boat and the orchestra the natural elements, birds and fish, the suite in ten sections powerfully portrays the voyage from the West of Ireland via the Faroes, Iceland, through Greenland gales, ice flows off Labrador and the eventual safe arrival on the coast of Newfoundland.
Commissioned by Derry City council to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Siege of Derry in 1689, The Relief of Derry Symphony is a theatrical work of great tenderness and power. The performance with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will be led by the original team of musicians from the first performance in the Guildhall in Derry in 1990: conductor Gearóid Grant, soloists Liam O’Flynn, uilleann pipes, Rita Connolly, vocalist, Gerard McChrystal, saxophone, and Pipe Major Iain MacDonald of Glasgow, now leading 3 generations of Scottish bagpipers - his daughter Fiona, son Finlay and his grandson Joe – from the Neilston and District Pipe Band, Glasgow. The Dublin performance is one of two on the island this year; in December The Relief of Derry Symphony will close the Derry City of Culture celebrations on 20 December.
Shaun Davey: Originally an art historian, Belfast born composer Shaun Davey’s varied and distinguished career includes large scale concert works as well as music for theatre, TV and film.
Recent work has involved theatre in the UK, USA and Romania and includes the score for Gulliver with Romanian director Silviu Paracerete (2012 Edinburgh International Festival and the Sibiu International Theatre), the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award 2011 for Tempest (The Old Globe, San Diego), As you like it (2012) and King Lear (2010) at The Old Globe, San Diego and Tempest at Theatre Royal Haymarket (2011). In 2011, his setting of St Patricks’ prayer The Deers’ Cry was performed at the inauguration of President Michael D. Higgins.
His theatre work includes several scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company where he worked with directors Trevor Nunn, Adrian Noble and Sam Mendez, and work both on and off Broadway including a New York Critics Award and a Tony nomination for best musical score (James Joyces’ The Dead). His work in TV and Film (The Hanging Gale, Ballykissangel, Twelfth Night, Waking Ned, David Copperfield, The Tailor of Panama) has been recognized with an Ivor Novello Award, a Golden Reel Award, a TRIC Award for best UK TV signature theme, two BAFTA Nominations and an additional Ivor Novello nomination.