We have been very lucky at Musici Ireland to strike up a friendship with Wexford based (and IFTA nominated!)composer Liam Bates. We have performed his wonderful string composition “Vivo” several times now and can genuinely say what a wonderful challenge it has been each time. What makes it easy though, is to actually work alongside Liam during these rehearsals and performances. It is such a privilege to see a composer’s passion and energy in front of you and we cannot help but be infected by his energy and groove! You can hear a recording of this piece on our website.
Liam writes challenging music that is filled with melody and emotion, a fact made beautifully obvious in a recent concert given by Wexford Sinfonia, in which Beth, Dianne and Bethan were invited to participate in . This was the world premiere of “Heroes of the Helen Blake” and this review from the Irish Examiner says it all:
“It was a compelling evening, brimming with emotion, as Wexford Sinfonia orchestra premiered a new work, Heroes of the Helen Blake, by Liam Bates, to a capacity house. The concert marked the centenary of the sinking of the Norwegian vessel, The Mexico, off the Wexford coast and the bravery of the lifeboat crew. Author Eoin Colfer read from his late father’s account of the tragedy.
The work in five movements was full of colour and drama, written in a rich, post-Romantic, film-score style. The parallels with Vaughan Williams were apparent in the use of sea shanties. The hymn tune, ‘Hail Queen of Heaven,’ was the main theme of the opening movement, and was echoed later. The second movement, ‘Strength and Grace’, opened with the clearer texture of a solo clarinet line set against scurrying string motifs and delicate, harp accompaniment.
An unusual battery of percussion instruments created the dark, menacing mood of the third movement. The clang of a ship’s propeller, rusty metal plates and a ship’s bell rang out several times. Bass-drum rolls, and a poignant horn solo, evoked the ‘Vale of Tears’ in the fourth movement. In the final movement, a male voice choir rose to sing a simple unison setting of the composer’s poem, ‘To Bring Them Home’. This was exciting, well-crafted symphonic writing, teeming with ideas.”
Musici Ireland are very much looking forward to working with Liam again in their July 23rd concert in Wexford.