Flying the flag for Irish contemporary music

Dublin-born Róisín Walters, leader of the Liverpool Quartet is flying the flag for Irish contemporary music as the quartet embarks on a tour of Ireland supported by the National String Quartet Foundation. The quartet comes to An Taibhdhearc on Thursday, 3rd November at 8pm.

The Irish work in the programme comes from Deirdre Gribbin. Deirdre has been described as "a charismatic and intriguing new voice in contemporary music." (The Independent ). She is Artistic Director of Venus Blazing Music Theatre Trust working with young people with cognitive delays. She has written for film including My Kingdom for Sky Pictures starring Richard Harris. The evening features the magical and mysterious “Merrow Sang” from 2007, which vividly recounts a tale of merrow-maidens emerging from the sea during the burial of one the Cantillon family of Ballyheigue.

The varied programme opens with Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky’s String Quartet No. 1. Perhaps not as known as some of the composers with whom he associated, Zemlinsky studied with Anton Bruckner, was the teacher of Korngold, Alban Berg, Anton Webern to name but a few, and was friendly with Schoenberg and Gustav Mahler. He was of Jewish extraction and fled to America in 1938. This beautiful early masterpiece is very much in the genre of Brahmsian late romanticism.

Of Shostakovich’s 15 quartets, the Liverpool Quartet have chosen to include No.3 in the programme. Premiered in 1946, this was the only piece Shostakovich composed that year as a difficult time for artists under the Stalin regime had begun. Named ‘war quartet’ by the composer, he initially gave each of the five movements descriptive titles but withdrew them just before publishing the piece, leaving it to the listener to interpret the music. It is a heart-breaking musical commentary on the futility and pain of war.

Tickets are €20. There is a reduced price for full-time students and school-going children of €6 and MfG Friends pay €16.

To book or find out about how to join as MfG Friend, visit


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