Instrumentalising Folk Song

Instrumentalist Folk Song

Beckett Chamber Music Series

[blockquote_right]Sun 24 Jun | 7pm | Boys’ School[/blockquote_right]

Instrumentalising Folk Song explores the idea of the musical setting of language in, perhaps, its purest humanistic form. The works presented use Irish folk song as a basis for three very different kinds of composition. On the subject, composer Béla Bartók writes that although folk song is “impulsively created by a community of men who have had no schooling… the single tunes – are so many examples of high artistic perfection. In their small way, they are as perfect as the grandest masterpieces of musical art.”

John Larchet’s documentation of Irish Airs through his instrumentation for violin and piano, reinvents the original material through lush Romantic harmonisation. As Director of Music at the Abbey Theatre from 1907 to 1934, Larchet worked with many of Ireland’s leading literary figures, and he was an influential teaching figure as professor of harmony and counterpoint at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Sebastian Adams’ new work for piano trio takes every letter of an Irish folk song and wrings it through a cipher to create an enormous row of pitches to use as the timeline and seeds for his music. His new work takes a number of ideas from Beckett: the musical material (which is programmatic, based on the opening stage directions of Happy Days), the concept of reducing everything to fragments, and the idea that both halves of the piece should be basically the same.

Frank Martin’s Trio sur des mélodies populaires irlandaises uses Irish folk songs discovered in collections at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris as a basis for this uniquely engaging work, firmly rooted in Irish folk song, yet with a tonal language that is somewhat French.


John F Larchet (1884–1967)
Irish Airs arr. for violin and piano (1917)

Sebastian Adams (b. 1992)
New Work for piano trio (2018)

Frank Martin (1890–1974)
Piano Trio sur des mélodies populaires irlandaises (1925)

Sarah Sew – violin
Yseult Cooper Stockdale – cello
Jonathan Morris – piano

Running Time: 60 mins

Visit the Beckett Chamber Music website.

[cta headline=”Tickets €15|€12 student/OAP/unwaged concession | €50 for all 3 Beckett series events/€45 concession” buttontext=”Book Now” buttonlink=”httpss://smockalley.ticketsolve.com/shows/873588854″] Book tickets for Instrumentalising Folk Song today![/cta]