Now available in the RIAM Library

The invisible art : a century of music in Ireland 1916-2016 / edited by Michael Dervan 

Edited by Irish Times music critic, Michael Dervan, and produced in conjunction with Composing the IslandThe Invisible Art is published in association with RTÉ and Bord na Móna. With pieces commissioned from an array of expert writers covering this key period in Irish musical composition, this lavishly illustrated book brings to life this unique art form in Ireland across the last century.

For the first time, The Invisible Art examines the work of Irish composers from before the founding of the Irish state right up to the twenty-first century. From valiant pioneers struggling against the tide to confident, highly individual twenty-first-century voices, it also highlights the difficulties musical creators faced in securing a clearly defined place in wider Irish society.

The Invisible Art brings to life the music of a nation: from Rhoda Coghill’s cantata Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking, written on the grounds of Trinity College during Ireland’s Civil War ‘with, just around the corner, bullets and grenades flying’, to Gerald Barry’s irreverent operatic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, ‘the first great comic opera of the twenty-first century’. The views of the composers themselves are coupled with contributions by leading interpreters and experts to make for a rich narrative in this lavishly illustrated homage to an underappreciated art.

The Invisible Art has a host of high-profile authors from the world of music, including Kevin O’Connell, Head of Composition at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Proinnsías Ó Duinn, Conductor Laureate for the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and David Harrington, leader of the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet.

There are also contributions from members of Aosdána, Carnegie Hall, and the Royal Academy of Music, sopranos and conductors, as well as lecturers and heads of music departments from academic institutions such as Trinity College, University College Dublin and London University.

Composing the Island is a three-week-long festival featuring music written between 1916 and 2016, and is presented in September 2016 by Bord na Móna in association with RTÉ and the National Concert Hall. Taking place at the NCH and broadcast on Lyric FM, it includes six major orchestral concerts with RTÉ’s National Symphony and Concert Orchestras, and a further twenty concerts by a range of performers including the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, RTÉ Cór na nÓg and the RTÉ Contempo Quartet.

[From the Publisher’s website: New Island Books]

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