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PROGRAM

All songs written or arranged by Michael McGlynn.

  • “Songs of the Spirit”
    • Media Vita
    • Illumination
    • Christus Resurgens
    • Pie Jesu
    • Sanctus
  • “Songs of Nature”
    • August
    • When the War is Over
    • Amhrán na Gaoithe (Song of the Wind)
    • The Wild Song
    • Hinbarra
  • “Songs of the People”
    • An Oíche (The Night)
    • Geantraí
    • Cúnnla
    • The Flower of Maherally
    • Dúlamán
    • Jerusalem
    • Siúil a Rúin
    • ‘Sí do Mhaimeo Í
    • Fionnghuala

Program Notes and Translations by Michael McGlynn

Media Vita – The text is by Notker the Stammerer (c. 840 – 912).

In the midst of life we are in death
Who do we seek help from but You, O Lord
You who for our sins…
Holy God, holy and powerful O holy compassionate Saviour
Do not give us to the harshness of death
In You, our fathers placed their hopes
They gave You their hopes and You freed them.

Illumination – The text is from the tombstone of James Galwey d.1627 at St Multose Cathedral, Kinsale.

Whoever it is that passes here
Read this, stop, and shed a tear
I was as you are, and you shall be
What I am now. Pray for me

 Christus Resurgens is a chant written c. 1150 in this version, and is one of a very small number of early Irish works that survives.

Christ has arisen from the dead and dies no more, alleluia.
Death will no longer have dominion over Him alleluia

Pie Jesu was written in commemoration of those who died in the horror that was the Omagh Bombing which happened in August 1998.

Merciful Jesus, Master: Grant them rest: Grant them everlasting rest

Sanctus is an homage to the beautiful chant writing of Hildegard of Bingen the great 11th century German poetess and composer. The piece suggests the endless echoes of the infinite. This work comes from Michael’s “Celtic Mass.”

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of might;
Your glory fills all of heaven and earth.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

August The text of this beautiful poem was written by Francis Ledwidge [born Slane, County Meath, August 1887, died Ypres, France, July 1917]. Beneath the gentle surface of his work runs a direct line to the ancient nature poets of Ireland where beautiful natural imagery conceals a poetic truth.

When the War is Over – The text is adapted from “The Place” by Francis Ledwidge.

Amhrán na Gaoithe (Song of the Wind) – explores a sound-world inspired by tales from the off-shore islands of melodic fragments that were heard by fishermen and their families. These fragments of melody were called “Port na bPucaí” (Ghost Melodies), and their strains have entered the vocabulary of Irish traditional music. This work explores some of these fragments, developing them into the mythology that surrounds the stories of the Siren song. This composition was commissioned by Chanticleer.

Song of the wind, the swelling of the tide.
On the cool waves, dark shadow over grey water.

The Wild Song – Both words and music are by McGlynn and was commissioned by the Finnish choral ensemble Rajaton.

Hinbarra – Many of the traditional songs of the West of Ireland refer to the sea. This piece uses fragments of existing song texts to create a series of images associated with the lives of fisherman. The words and the music are by Michael McGlynn.

Oh my little boat
Oh my little curragh
Men of the sea, men of the bogs
Men of the land, men of the farms
I’ll raise the sails and off to the West
Oh my little curragh

An Oíche – These texts are taken from the songs of children dating back centuries. Simple rhythmic ideas are juxtaposed onto a suitably comical text.

Do you remember that night when you were at the window
Without a hat or glove or overcoat on you?
I gave my hand to you and you clasped it to you
Without a hat or glove or overcoat on you? And the lark spoke.
My love, come to me some night.
Do you remember that night, and the night was so cold.

Geantraí – This poem dates from the 18th Century and is part of a longer text about lost love, but the texts here outline the simple innocence of young lovers out walking on a cool night, with the poet remembering the moment as a precious thing.

We will throw her up easily
We will throw her up and up, hopefully she will not explode
She will dance and dance.  She will dance with pleasure
She will dance and dance myself and herself together.

Cúnnla – is traditional Irish text. This piece was commissioned by Robert Cowles for The Syracuse Vocal Ensemble.

“Who is that down there knocking the (stone) walls?”
“Me, myself” says Cúnnla.
“Who is that down there pulling the blanket off me?”
“Me, myself” says Cúnnla.
“Who is that down there tickling the soles of my feet?”
“Me, myself” says Cúnnla.
“Dear Cúnnla don’t come any nearer to me!”
“My soul I will!” says Cúnnla.

The Flower of Maherally – features traditional Irish Song arranged by Michael McGlynn. It is a beautiful love song from County Down in Northern Ireland.

Dúlamán – features traditional Irish text about a marriage between two families of seaweed gatherers.

“O gentle daughter, here come the wooing men.”
“O gentle mother, put the wheels in motion for me.”
Seaweed of the yellow peaks, gaelic seaweed.
Seaweed of the ocean, gaelic seaweed.
I would go to the tailor with the gaelic seaweed.
“I would buy expensive shoes,” said the Gaelic seaweed.
The Gaelic seaweed has beautiful black shoes.
The Gaelic seaweed has a beret and trousers.
There is a yellow gold head on the Gaelic seaweed.
There are two blunt ears on the stately seaweed.

Jerusalem – is from “The Kilmore Carols.” The form of singing is heterophony, a musical texture characterized by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line.

Siúil a Rúin – dating from the Jacobite Rebellion [1688-1746], this traditional song tells the tale of a woman whose love has fled to France in support of James II. She laments his loss but vows to follow him.

‘Sí do Mhaimeo Í, is a traditional Irish song.

She is your granny, the hag with the money
She is your granny from the town of Iorrais Mór,
And she would put coaches on the roads of Cois Farraige
If you’d see the steam boat going past Tóin Uí Loing’
And the wheels turning speedily at her flanks
She’d scatter the store nine times to the rear,
But she never keeps pace with the hag with the money.
Do you reckon he’d marry, the hag with the money
I know he’ll not marry, I know he’ll not marry
Because he’s too young and he’ll drink the money.
We’ll soon have a wedding, by two in the village
We’ll soon have a wedding, we’ll soon have a wedding,
Between Séan Séamais Mór and Máire Ní Chathasaigh.

Michael McGlynn [b.1964, Dublin, Ireland] is a composer, singer, educator and choral conductor. His compositional language combines elements of medieval and traditional music (modality, ornamentation and drones) with jazz-tinged chordal clusters and a distinctive melodic sensibility. His choral music has been recorded and performed by vocal ensembles such as Rajaton, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, The Dale Warland Singers, Conspirare, the BBC Singers, Kansas City Chorale, Cantus, the Phoenix Chorale and Chanticleer. As an Educator he has led workshops, seminars and lectured on his music in Canada, the USA, the U.K., Ireland, Japan, China [at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music], Poland and Sweden. In 1987 he founded the Irish choral group ANÚNA whose repertoire features his compositions and arrangements almost exclusively. He has produced and recorded sixteen albums for the choir with “Anúna” (1993), “Celtic Origins” (2007) and “Christmas Memories” (2008) all featuring in the US Billboard Charts. “Deep Dead Blue” (1999) was nominated for a Classical Brit Award and went top five in the UK Classical Charts. As a tenor soloist he is featured on a number one single in Ireland in 2004, duetting with Jerry Fish on the track “True Friends”.  Michael lives in Dublin and is an ardent year-round sea swimmer.