• Ian Passmore

Music that doesn't suck, No. 42: St. Patrick's Day!

I missed last week's post in the midst of studying for a gig. BUT, we're back in full swing for St. Patrick's Day!

Held every March 17, St. Patrick's Day is actually a religious holiday meant to honor the man who is generally recognized as having brought Christianity to Ireland. Other fun fact: "Saint" Patrick was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church, as he lived prior to the establishment of the rules which govern that process.

There is plenty of music inspired by Irish culture, but written by non-Irish composers. I didn't think it would make much sense to feature one of those pieces this week...we need the real thing!

Hamilton Harty was an Irish composer, conductor, and pianist/organist, widely recognized as one of the finest accompanists of his generation. He tragically succumbed to a returned brain tumor in 1941 at the age of 61.

In 1904, Harty responded to a call from Dublin's Feis Ceoil -- a classical music competition established in 1897 -- for a symphony based on traditional Irish airs. The result was An Irish Symphony, which Harty eventually revised twice: first in 1915, and again in 1924. The movements are as follows:

  1. On the Shores of Lough Neagh

  2. The Fair-Day

  3. In the Antrim Hills

  4. The Twelfth of July

I would encourage you to think of this a popular music cast in symphonic form, rather than see the term "symphony" and think Beethoven, Brahms, et al. It's much simpler than that, but no less enjoyable :)

The performance features Ireland's own Ulster Orchestra led by Bryden Thomson.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends -- cheers!!

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