Category: Music

Farewell dear Ronnie…a great woman has gone

A phone call from my good friend and pianist, Alison Young, on Easter Monday evening told me of the death of the doyenne of our musicians, Veronica Dunne, some hours previously. The news was unexpected as despite her 93 years Ronnie, as she was affectionately known, was still teaching until relatively recently. Her passing brought…

March musical treats to enjoy

Among artistic ventures falling victim to Covid-19 last year were Feis Ceoil and Music for Galway’s Cellissimo festival – a celebration of the cello in one form or another. Happy to relate both events have been reconstituted with Feis Ceoil, supported by the RDS and celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2021, already under way and…

Glimpses of Dublin’s operatic past

Last time round I may have implied that soprano May Devitt made her Dublin Operatic Society debut as Philine in Mignon in 1937. In fact, her first DOS appearance came on April 30, 1935 as Leonora in Verdi’s Il trovatore. The following year she was heard as Violetta in La traviata and Marguerite in Faust…

Opera’s bright 20th Century in Dublin

A good friend of mine, opera buff extraordinaire Paddy Brennan, recently sent me an email with an attachment – www.operainireland.wordpress.com/. It came with a ‘work in progress’ warning but, even so, the file contains a vast amount of information relating to opera in Dublin from 1928 to virtually the present day. The content is absolutely…

The greatest of Beethoven’s last five

While I wrote about Beethoven’s String Quartets at various times during his 250th anniversary last year, other topics diverted me along the way only allowing me to reach his 13th – Op 130. Beethoven’s C sharp minor 14th Quartet was written in the first half of 1826. Arguably the greatest of his last five, it…

Bach’s cantatas to bring us to the Epiphany

Before moving to Leipzig in 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach held several positions as organist and choirmaster in Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Weimar and Cöthen. In Weimar he served under Lutheran Duke Wilhelm Ernst (1662-1728), who had a penchant for religious devotions and aimed to maintain the Church’s ancient musical tradition. This was to Bach’s advantage giving him…

Young musicians show there is a bright future

Writing about the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition bursaries last time round, I ran out of space before alluding to another competition – the Top Security Frank Maher Classical Music Awards – held in October. This has been an annual event since its establishment in 2001 by Emmet O’Rafferty, Chairman and CEO of Top Security,…

Awards bring much needed shafts of light

Whatever about the darker elements surrounding us, shafts of light are shining on a number of our young musicians through bursaries funded by the State and private enterprise. Those from the Government come via its Department of Media, Tourism, Art, Culture and the Gaeltacht having been solicited by the triennial Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition…