- Oliver Kentish
We have been singing this lovely setting for a number
of years now. Its simplicity and gentle ending is always appreciated
südamest - Urmas Sisask
Kiitkem südamest was composed by Estonian composer
Urmas Sisask and is a heartfelt praise to Mary. Cois Cladaigh
discovered Sisasks’s music in the early years of the 21st
century thanks to Heye Rumhor. During the Estonian tour, the choir
visited the planetarium in Jäneda in northern Estonia where
Sisask composes and he spoke about and played some of his music.
Sisask also conducted Cois Cladaigh singing Kiitkem.
Hail Mary, you have come into world without sin, heartfelt
praise to Mary, rejoice together, hail Queen.
You have been chosen amongst women, heartfelt praise to Mary,
rejoice together, hail Queen.
You have carried the Creator for us as a mother, heartfelt praise
to Mary, rejoice together, hail Queen.
Purest Virgin, you have given Jesus to us, heartfelt praise to
Mary, rejoice together, hail Queen.
I compare thee to a summer's day - Nils Lindberg
Lindberg’s settings typically have a strong
contemporary jazz feeling and this setting of a Shakespeare sonnet
is one of his better known and most recorded pieces.
le dire mensonger - Clement Janequin
Rónán Scaife who used to sing with
Cois Cladaigh brought the choir this piece. The poet says that
his love will last until the black crow turns white and the white
swans turn black and sea water turns into freshwater.
Maria - Javier Busto
Busto was commissioned by Cois Cladaigh in 2002
to commemorate the choir’s 20th anniversary. The choir met
him again in 2005 in Cork and in 2006 when it toured the Basque
This setting of Petrarch’s sonnet to his
famous “Laura” is rhythmically strong for the opening
sections and Monteverdi shows off his considerable power in painting
the poetic images with music. The giddy 3 beats to the bar has
a strong dance-like sense, interrupted sporadically with a 4 beat
bar resembling the gusts and eddies of the wind. The last part
of the sonnet opens with a 4 beat section and is taken at a slower
tempo to reflect the pathos of the words. There is a penultimate
flurry of rhythm reflecting the singing birds and lady’s
love before the final, tragic line which Monteverdi accentuates
by piling semitone against semitone and then resolving the clash.
- Albert Alcaraz
This composition has several different styles from
SSAA sections to TTBB parts only, then full 8 part writing and
even a small piece of vocalization at the section “se obmutuit”
where Alcaraz indicates that the choir should use the sound “ssshhh”.
Kyrie - Girolamo
This comes from Frescobaldi’s “Messa
sopra L’Aria di Fiorenze” and was given to us by Christopher
- Eric Whitacre
Whitacre has used many translated texts of the
Mexican poet Octavio Paz and this is one of them. He has a natural
adeptness in writing for choirs and his compositions, although
sounding complex are quite manageable. In this piece, he generates
wonderfully stacked cluster chords throughout the work.
- Claudio Monteverdi
This is from his 3rd book of madrigals and Monteverdi
sets the Guarini text with a florid style having lines tumbling
over one another and answering each other in the opening “Spring”
section that continues through the middle third of the piece.
However, in the last section where the poet says “ma, non
son Io” (but not me), the style changes to a declamatory,
Dimittis - Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
This wonderful 8-part setting of the Nunc dimittis
text shows off the different sections of the choir. Soloists include
Maeve Canavan and Matt Wallen. The mysterious and serene opening
sets the mood for the journey the newly departed is about to undertake.
Music, when soft voices
die - John Buckley
John Buckley, an Irish composer dedicated this
piece to Cois Cladaigh. It uses a Percy Bisshe Shelley's poem.
This piece was written for Cois Cladaigh in 1984.
It is structured with the chromatic harmonies of the 16th century
composer, Carlo Gesualdo, in mind.
MUSIC, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory;
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heap'd for the belovèd's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
Laoi Cáinte an
Tombac - Seoirse Bodlaí
This text is an anti-tobacco tirade in which the
poet starts by saying “Take the tobacco away from me –
I will never put in my mouth again. It destroys breathing and
leaves an empty corpse.”
The poet goes on to say amongst other things that tobacco is the
worst poison on earth and that it takes away man’s libido.
The poem finishes by saying that it was the Devil who first planted
Bring us O Lord
God to our last awakening - Sir William Henry Harris (1883-1973)
In 1959 Sir William Harris set this wonderful prayer
by John Donne for double choir. When Cois Cladaigh was learning
this song, the book by Vikram Seth “An Equal Music”
was published and Seth chose these few words from the poem by
John Donne that Harris had set. The coincidence of this led to
the choice of these words as the title for this CD.
Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening
into the house and gate of heaven,
to enter into that gate and dwell in that house,
where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling,but one
no noise nor silence,but one equal music;
no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession;
no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity;
in the habitations of thy glory and dominion,
world without end.
- David Hamilton
Caliban's Song was written by New Zealand composer
David Hamilton, whose Lux Aeterna featured on Cois Cladaigh's
first CD. The text is taken from Shakespeare's play "The
Tempest". Hamilton has cleverly worked the music creating
a strong sense of the atmosphere of the poetry.
Art thou afeared? Be not afeared, the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine
And sometimes voices that if I then had waked after long sleep
will make me sleep again.
And then in dreaming, the clouds me thought would open and show
Ready to drop upon me that when I waked, I cried to dream again.
Maria - Franz Biebl (1906-2001)
This is a setting of portions of the Angelus and
the Ave Maria.
Biebl’s setting of the Angelus text makes
use of plainchant sung by solo voices and in the Ave Maria section
the rich harmonies of an SATB choir and a solo trio. Martin Beuster
and Kevin Hough sing the first piece of chant; the trio is made
up of Maeve Canavan (soprano), Laura Brogan (alto) and Matt Wallen
(tenor); the second piece of chant is sung by Matthew Harrison
and the third by Michael Burke.
vos omnes - Pablo Casals
This is a highly charged and dramatic setting of
this poignant text.
Battle of Jericho - Moses Hogan
Hogan’s settings of spirituals always portray
the story and the feelings behind the words. His use of the paired
basses and tenors as a sort of martial drum roll gives a menacing
feeling to the opening of this piece. The work has the typical
thumb print Hogan-type ending where you can see the walls of Jericho
come tumbling down.