Louth Contemporary Music Society is delighted and relieved to be back with its midsummer festival after a three-year gap.
“Nothing has Changed. Everything has Changed” – that’s the title. Nothing has changed: we’re still here, aren’t we? But everything has changed. Our relationships have been tested. We’ve seen more of life’s fragility. Art can help – especially new art, that has lived through these experiences with us.
With a great lineup of world-renowned composers and soloists, from Ireland and beyond, the festival opens on Friday 17 June at St Nicholas Church of Ireland in Dundalk. There’s a repeat performance there of Linda Caitlin Smith’s “Meadow” for three string players. LCMS put out a recording in 2020 of this miraculous wander through green pastures of harmony, and it’s become an international hit.
Also catching up with music from lockdown, there’ll be a chance to hear Sam Perkin’s “Flow” live. This is similarly for string trio, and similarly a piece whose LCMS recording has been making waves.
On the same programme are new works by Irish composer Andrew Synnott and by one of the foremost composers in England and internationally, Gavin Bryars, whose music always comes from off-centre to take you by surprise. Among the ace performers are the outstanding Irish string quartet, the Esposito, ace flautist Silvija Scerbaviciute and the breathtaking soprano Juliet Fraser.
The next day’s events start at lunchtime, in St Nicholas Church of Ireland, Australian singer Mitch Riley and French pianist Vanessa Wagner pull in at 1 p.m. for their acclaimed performance of “O Mensch!” You just have to witness this wild and intimate portrait of Nietzsche by the leading French composer of today, Pascal Dusapin.
There’s bass in the early afternoon at 3pm at the Spirit Store, where the stunning Icelandic improviser Bára Gísladóttir takes the stage with Skúli Sverrisson. Be prepared for electricity and heat.
But it doesn’t end there. in the chapel of St Vincent’s School, Dundalk, there will be an absorbing delve into slow sound and interference patterns by Catherine Lamb, scored for string bass and quarter tone bass flute
The festival closes that evening at the same venue with voices: the Vox Clamantis choir of Estonia, singing Arvo Pärt’s LCMS commission “The Deer's Cry”, music by the younger Estonian composer Helena Tulve, Lou Harrison’s ecstatic “Mass for St. Cecilia’s Day” and a new work, “Storm in Devon”, by Siobhán Cleary.
Funded by the Arts Council and Create Louth. Tourism Louth. RTÉ Supporting the Arts
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