In Memoriam Francis Ledwidge
This concert held on Sunday 30 July 2017 at 8pm in THE CATHEDRAL OF ST PATRICK AND ST FELIM, CAVAN, featurng - Lassus Ireland’s newest Professional Chamber Choir directed by Dr Ite O’Donovan with new compositions by Paul Flynn was a unique evening of music and poetry.
This very special concert featured works of Irish poet Francis Ledwidge, born in Slane in 1887, who
joined the 5th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 10th (Irish) Division, on 24th October1914,
serving with them in Serbia, Gallipoli, France and Belgium where he was killed on July 31st 1917.
Ledwidge was greatly inspired by nature and his poetry reflects the beautiful landscapes of Co. Meath. A
number of his poems, including his Lament for Thomas McDonagh, will be performed by one
of Ireland’s foremost poets, Noel Monahan.
The music programme included new choral compositions by Paul Flynn, director of Music at
St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen; new choral imaginings of texts and melodies inspired by the events of
1916 – The Lament for P.H. Pearse (Joseph M. Crofts), Let me Carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
(Thomas Ashe) and Ag Críost an Síol (Micheál Ó Síocháin) composed and arranged by Ite O’Donovan.
The international aspect was reflected in the much-loved final chorale from St John's Passion (J.S. Bach), Justorum animae by Irish composer C.V. Stanford and selections from the five-part Requiem by Orlande de Lassus. Jason McAuley (trumpeter) sounded The Last Post.
Born on the 19th August 1887 Francis was the eight of nine children born to Patrick and Anne Ledwidge. He was the first child born in the family's new home, at Janeville just outside the village of Slane situated in the Boyne Valley, some thiry miles north of Dublin. Christened Francis Edward but known as Frank to his family and friends the fledgling poet would know hardship from an early age. His father died when he was just four years old and only three months after the birth of his youngest brother Joseph. the burden fell on his mother Anne to provide for the family by undertaking back breaking work for the farmers in the fields for a meager eight shillings a week.
Despite the initial hardship the literary talents of Francis flourished from an early age. Described as an "erratic genius"by his schoolmaster Mr. Thomas Madden. Francis joined a literary society for juveniles and was introduced to classic stories like, The Arabian Nights, Robinson Crusoe, Don Quixote and the poetic works of Shakespeare, Keats and Longfellow. From as soon as he could write Francis indulged in the creation of rhyme and verse:
'While I was still at school many silly verses left my pen, written either for my own amusement, or the amusement of my companions. Indeed I left many an exercise unfinished hurrying over some thought that shaped itself into rhyme...' READ MORE
Specialising in Renaissance and Contemporary repertoire, ‘Lassus’, under the umbrella of Dublin Choral Foundation, has already recorded its debut album in July 2015, with domestic and international performances and further recordings from 2016.
In January 2016 the performed Mozart’s Requiem at the National Concert Hall in addition to motets by Orlande de Lassus and a new composition by Bill Whelan.
This exciting new freelance professional chamber choir is directed by Dr Ite O’Donovan.
Dr Ite O'Donovan
Dr Ite O’Donovan has had a rich and varied career in Dublin since 1975. A graduate of Carysfort College of Education, Ite began her teaching career in the primary school sector and was appointed vice-principal when only 24 years of age. She continued her musical studies at Trinity College, Dublin as an external student and graduated with a Bachelor in Music degree in 1981. In March 1982, she made history by being the first woman to be appointed director of the Palestrina Choir at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin. Her increasing passion for music led her to resign from her full-time post as vice-principal in 1984 and take up part-time teaching at Dublin’s College of Music. In 1986 she graduated from The Queen’s University, Belfast with a Master’s Degree in Renaissance Music and in 1988 was appointed to a whole-time post in the School of Musicianship at Dublin’s College of Music (now the DIT Conservatory of Music). READ MORE
Paul Flynn is from Lucan, Co. Dublin. In 2000 he graduated with a BA in music from Trinity College Dublin, specialising in composition with Kevin O’Connell and Donnacha Dennehy. In 2009 he was awarded an M. Litt. in musicology from the same college.
He has extensive experience of the choral genre not only through composition but also through conducting and singing with many choirs including the Mornington Singers, Trinity College Dublin Chapel Choir and St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir, Dublin. In 2006, he won the Christ Church Cathedral Festival Composition Competition. He received the International Composer Honorable Mention in the 2009 POLYPHONOS competition with The Esoterics choir, Seattle, USA. He has had works performed in many venues both in Ireland and the United Kingdom, including recent performances by the men of St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Some of his liturgical music is in the regular repertoire of a number of choirs including Trinity College Dublin Chapel Choir and St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir. Recently, his work Hymnus Sancti Camelaci was selected for the 2014 ISCM World Music Days Festival.
Paul Flynn now lives just outside Cavan Town with his family. He directs the Choir of the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Michael’s, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. He is an active member of the AIC (Association of Irish Composers).
Noel Monahan was born in Granard, Co Longford.
His collections are Opposite Walls (Galway, Salmon Poetry, 1991); Snowfire (Salmon Poetry, 1995); Curse of the Birds (Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare, Salmon Publishing, 2001); The Funeral Game (Salmon Publishing, 2004); and Where the Wind Sleeps: New and Selected Poems (Salmon Publishing,2014).
In 2001 he won the SeaCat National Poetry Award, organised by Poetry Ireland. Also in 2001 he won the RTÉ P.J. O’Connor Award for his play Broken Cups. In 2002 he won the ASTI Achievements Award for his contribution to literature at home and abroad. Other awards include The Allingham Poetry Award and The Kilkenny Prize for Poetry.
He is co-editor of Windows Publications with Heather Brett and lives in Cavan.
Charles Villiers Stanford
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was the most famous composer of Irish origin before independence. Born into a musical family with many contacts to leading musicians and intellectuals, he first studied privately with Michael Quarry, Joseph Robinson and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music with Robert Prescott Stewart. In 1870 he began his academic studies at Cambridge and from 1873 at Trinity College of Music, London. The next three years he spent half a year each studying in Germany, which he did with Carl Reinecke at Leipzig and with Friedrich Kiel at Berlin and he became friendly with Brahms and Offenbach. From 1883 he was the first professor of music at the Royal College of Music, London (until his death in 1924), and occupied the same position at Cambridge from 1887-1924. He taught virtually the whole next generation of British composers including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, John Ireland and some Irish composers as well. READ MORE