Francis Ledwidge Centenary Celebrations
We are delighted to announce that Anúna will be performing at Richmond Barracks,Dublin on July 30th. Tickets available from HERE. Note that places are very limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.This is one of the key events that are taking place this year, the centenary of Francis Ledwidge (19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917). Ledwidge's work has been a part of Anúna's repertoire over the last two decades mainly due to Artistic Director Michael McGlynn's deep affection for his writing.
"When I discovered Ledwidge for the first time through the academic work of Inchicore poet Liam O'Meara, it was like finding a kindred spirit" McGlynn says. "Ledwidge's use of natural imagery and the deceptive simplicity of his lyrics were immediately appealing to me and the first piece I set was the beautiful "August" closely followed by "A Soldier's Grave" which I titled "Midnight".
But the setting of "The Lament for Thomas MacDonagh" was a great challenge as a composer. It was a piece that I was overly familiar with. I couldn't connect with the poem at all until I appended the last verse of his text "June" to the work. Concurrent with composing this work I heard of the very tragic and early demise of the singer Jeff Buckley whom I had worked with a few years previously. The piece fell into place then and I changed the title to "Where All Roses Go".
Over the last two decades I have taken his poetry around the world as Anúna has toured. Each new setting I make of his texts yields more and more layers of meaning, more subtlety and nuance. It is tantalising to think what he would have achieved if he had lived longer, but we should be grateful for what have. Ledwidge remains one of my greatest poetic inspirations."
Where All Roses Go
He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds,
Above the wailing of the rain.
Nor shall he know when loud March blows
Thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup
Of many an upset daffodil.
But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor,
And pastures poor with greedy weeds,
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn,
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.
Soon the swallows will be flying south,
The winds wheel north to gather in the snow.
Even the roses split on youth's red mouth
Will soon blow down the road all roses go.
The concert on July 30th will feature a selection of Michael's settings of his work in a venue that is steeped in the atmosphere of 1917. Richmond Barracks, where he was stationed, is a fitting place to remember this subtle and oft under-appreciated poet who died on a Belgian battlefield on July 31st 1917.
Tickets available from HERE. Note that places are very limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.
As part of Anúna's ongoing thirtieth anniversary celebrations we release a seven track mini-album this May "Songs of the Whispering Things". This exclusively digital release features music written by the group's Artistic Director/Composer Michael McGlynn combined with the beautiful poetry of Francis Ledwidge (19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917). 2017 marks the centenary of his death, and to celebrate Anúna have recorded a brand new piece, a setting of his poem "May".
SONGS OF THE WHISPERING THINGS
Ledwidge was a uniquely Irish poet, tied to the beauty of the Irish landscape. His death cut short a rapidly developing poetic voice and his work has been somewhat neglected until recent times.
"Ledwidge has been a huge influence on me as a composer" says Michael McGlynn. "His vision of Ireland, its history and landscape find a sympathetic resonance in the more pastoral aspects of my own compositional voice. His wonderful poems have been a part of my life that I can't quantify easily. It is an honour to be able to gather these pieces together and perhaps introduce a new generation to his sublime work".
The mini-album also features the The Ulster Orchestra (Northern Ireland's premiere orchestral ensemble) on two tracks and the wonderful saxophone playing of Kenneth Edge.
Track Listing :
2. Midnight (original title "A Soldier's Grave")
4. Behind the Closed Eye
5. My Songs Shall Rise (from "At a Poet's Grave")
6. Where All Roses Go (from "Lament for Thomas McDonagh" & "June")
7. When the War is Over (from "The Place")