Richard B. Evans’ Dublin 1916 Irish oratorio with Boys of the Lough et al
I knew Richard in 1976 as a demanding perfectionist music professor at CSUDH who was also selected as "Teacher of the Year" out of about two thousand other California State University teachers.
His compositional ability and Celtic Integrity also translate in the same manner. Richard is easily the top 1/10th of one percent of composers who are alive (and not decomposing!) and in fact was commissioned by Sîla de Valera, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, of the Government of the Republic of Ireland, to compose the Celtic Air: KILMAINHAM GAOL, to commemorate the Millennium in Ireland. This is track twelve on the CD and it is extraordinary!
EVERY note of every track has been composed with the same painstaking perfection of his former days. Every note has been tenderly crafted with love but be advised that the spit in the eye of brave Irish rebels of 1916 has been captured in the Uillean pipes of Christy O’Leary in "Requiem for the Croppies" and "A Fenian Ballad."
The strings in particular are orchestrated in unusual inversions and are lush and escape the cloying sickening Hollywood treatment. Instead, the arrangements bring out the Irish of Aly Bain in "The Fiddler of Dooney." You will have never heard such a lush, beatiful, breathtaking arrangement of "O’Carolan’s Ireland" before.
I fell in love with tenor Dennis McNeil (Celtic Fire CD & Forever irish CD) singing the role of William Butler Yeats in "A Fenian Ballad," in particular. What is moving is the whistling of men marching to die with usual Irish Courage and later joined by the gutsy pipes.
Listeners should be prepared to experience a curious bit of semi-operatic tradition combined with the Irish on some of the songs. The most beautiful combination occurs in "The Ghost of Roger Casement" and the opening is mystic genius.
We should be proud of this American who is trusted to compose true to capturing Irish Musical Traditions by the Republic of Ireland and whom the Boys of the Lough consent to record with—and this is the reason why:
Of the 14 composers commissioned to participate in the Musical Millenium Compositions , Evans was the only American composer so honored. A recording of Celtic Air: KILMAINHAM GAOL [TRACK TWELVE] has been issued on a CD of contemporary Irish music by R.T.E. (Irish National Radio & Television), performed by Evans on piano along with the famed Celtic band Boys of the Lough.
This unusual, impressive CD is available on this website:
ERRATUM regarding YEATS by 1916 Composer Richard B. Evans
A big OOPS and my apologies to you, especially in Ireland!
I notified Richard who wrote in part:
"..What an interesting website!
(BTW, the Irish poet is William B. “Yeats” — “Keats” is the English guy…) " (Was entered as "Keats" in song titles)
Thank you, Richard for correcting me!
Yes, put me down as another well-meaning American only sparsely literate in Irish & English History—and please DO accept my apologies? My eyesight is not what it used to be either on those tiny CD liner notes! 🙁
ErRRATA & two 60 second samples
Magical opening of genius by the strings is in, "Lament For Thomas McDonagh" not "Ghost of Roger Casement."
60 second samples: award-winning, "KILMAINHAM GAOL"
"A Fenian Ballad" with defiant PIPES!
MORE CORRECTIONS—What’s Wrong With Me???
Ahhh….. my ignorance shows but I am humbly responsive to correction? I am thankful that Richard wrote yet more corrections:
You don’t need to take responsibility for any slight errors. ( Just fix ‘em!!) No crow-consumption required.
BTW, the singer on “A Fenian Ballad” is Christy O’Leary (not Dennis McNeil). Christy was born in Dublin, grew up in lovely Kenmare on the West Coast of Ireland, and now lives in Sweden. Dennis McNeil is heard as Wm. Butler Yeats on WBY’s tunes. Each is a wonderful singer in his own right and in distinctly different styles — Christy in the “sean nos” tradition, and Dennis in the operatic tradition — chosen to represent two aspects of Irish music and culture — Yeats, a member of the “Protestant Ascendancy”, and O’Donovan Rossa of the Gaelic majority.
Aly Bain is a Celt from Shetland (Scotland) whose playing encompasses the best of Scots and Irish fiddling.
I was honored to work with such an amazing collection of ALL the musicians on this recording.