THE MUSIC OF SHAUN DAVEY
Shaun Davey's Granuaile and Refief of
The Music of Shaun Davey with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra was lauded as one of the highlights of Dublin's National Concert Hal'sl 2006 musical calendar. For 2007 Shaun returns with two of his best known works, Granuaile based on the life of 'Pirate Queen' Grace O'Malley, the 16th century Irish woman chieftain whose galleys dominated the seas off the Mayo coast, and The Relief of Derry Symphony which Shaun composed as a contribution to the peace process in Ireland. It was commissioned by Derry City Council to commemorate the tercentenary of the famous siege of 1689 in a way that would help the reconciliation between the descendants of those who fought and died on both sides.
The Concert will feature The RTE National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gavin Maloney with soloists, Rita Connolly vocals, Liam O'Flynn uilleann pipes, Ken Edge saxaphone, Johnny Scott guitar, Diane Marschell Irish Harp, as well as special guests the choir of Old St. Pats Cathedral of Chicago, and as always with Shaun's music you can expect much more besides.
Shaun Davey is one of Ireland's leading professional composers. In recent years he has composed and produced scores for the BBC TV series 'Ballykissangel' [BAFTA nominated and TRIC award for best signature theme], won an Ivor Novello award for his music for the BBC mini-series 'The Hanging Gale' [also BAFTA nominated], composed and produced music for feature films 'The Tailor of Panama', 'Waking Ned', 'Twelfth Night' [Ivor Novello nominated], and for the Hallmark TV film of 'David Copperfield'. As a composer of concert works Shaun Davey's approach is melodic, often large scale and in many cases features traditional [folk] instruments and performers. He began in 1980 with 'The Brendan Voyage', a fusion of orchestral and Irish traditional styles with an uilleann piper as soloist. He continued this genre with 'The Pilgrim', 'Granuaile', and 'The Relief of Derry Symphony', all of which are available on Tara Records.
'Granuaile' distils the essence of the indomitable Grace O'Malley whose galleys ruled the seas off Western Ireland during the times of Elizabethan conquests. Curiously enough, no contemporary ballads celebrating her story have come down to us. The suite fills this gap in traditional musical history, portraying her defence of her territory, her seafaring exploits, he dismissal of her husband, the death of her lover in battle, her compassion for the men of the Spanish Armada who perished in the sea along the west coast of Ireland. It tells of her persecution at the hands of the notorious Governor of Connaught and of her daring voyage to England to protest that persecution in a confrontation with Queen Elizabeth I.
The Relief of Derry Symphony was composed as a contribution to the peace process in Ireland. It was commissioned by Derry City Council to commemorate the tercentenary of the famous siege of 1689 in a way that would help the reconciliation between the descendants of those who fought and died on both sides. For centuries, the siege of Derry - first in a series of Protestant victories - symbolised the estrangement of Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland. The battles of 1689-91 divided the Irish people into armies identified by religion - Catholics supporting Catholic James II, Protestants fighting for William of Orange. Conceived against this background, The Relief of Derry Symphony aims to assist in a process in which history becomes de-politicised and accepted as part of a common heritage. Its construction allowed for mutual participation by the Derry communities of both traditions, Catholic and Protestant. At the Symphony's premier in Derry's Guild Hall (1990) performers courageously crossed the political divide to take part. In the same spirit, church and representatives of both communities together attended a powerful, emotional performance, which testified to a willingness to set aside the differences of the past.
Rita Connolly, with a voice of the purity of crystal, Shaun found
the ideal Grace O'Malley. Together they have made the legend of 'Granuaile'
(Grace O'Malley in Irish) come vividly to life. Rita is one of the great
guarded treasures of Irish music. An immensely gifted and evocative singer,
she scarcely gets mentioned in the roll call of greats in the idiom along
with Mary Black, Dolores Keane and Mary Coughlan. This is partly due to
her detachment from the usual De Dannan/Planxty Irish folk hierarchy,
and partly due to the relative rarity of her public adventures.
Get Shaun Davey recordings online