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SM0564 The Lauding Ear & Confrontations in a Cathedral

The Lauding Ear
for pedal harp, organ & percussion
Anne-Marie O'Farrell

Cover Image"The Lauding Ear is based on Psalm 150, a psalm of praise which names a range of musical instruments used in ancient temple worship ...... The title of the piece is mainly an anagram for Dun Laoghaire and suggests that listening itself can be an act of praise. The work is written in memory of my uncle, Michael O’Leary, a music lover devoted in faith". Anne-Marie O’Farrell

Supplied as a performing score - copy needed per player

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NEW 2017 PUBLICATION printed & distributed by Creighton's Collection
published together with
Confrontations in a Cathedral by Brian Boydell

Go to Anne-Marie O'Farrell index

Preface

The Lauding Ear - Anne-Marie O'Farrell
Confrontations in a Cathedral - Brian Boydell

Preface - covers both works in the book

Chamber music for unusual combinations of instruments can create programming challenges, and so it came about that the organising committee of the Dun Laoghaire Organ Concerts commissioned a companion work to be programmed alongside Brian Boydell’s Confrontations in a Cathedral. From the outset it was clear that the acoustics for the premiere of my work and for a repeat performance of Boydell’s would be considerably different from those of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. St Michael’s Church in Dun Laoghaire lends itself to easier communication between players, and has clearer acoustics, thus creating greater compositional freedom than Boydell was originally afforded in his work for a large cathedral setting. His own programme note to Confrontations in a Cathedral below, written in 1986, illustrates the connection— however unintentional—between music and current events around the time of composition:

‘The extremely diverse characters of the instruments concerned in this work, their different dynamic possibilities, and their enforced separation within a very reverberant building are conditions which were thrust upon me by the nature of the commission. Problems of ensemble and balance precluded any close-knit continuous texture. Advantage could however be taken of these very problems of wide separation in space and time, and from the challenge there emerged the idea of confrontation between sharply different musical sounds emanating from different parts of a reverberant cathedral. In the act of composition I am never conscious of extra-musical influences (except of course when setting a text). The nature of the music that evolves nevertheless often seems to bear the stamp of thoughts that have been simmering at the back of the mind. Many of us today are deeply distressed by the confrontation between entrenched beliefs which cause so much distress and suffering—particularly so close to us in this island. We hopefully dream of a resolution of such conflicts in a spirit of understanding. Perhaps within the walls of a cathedral the confrontation between such diverse musical sounds resulting in peaceful resolution may symbolise this dream.’

While the concerns mentioned by Boydell remain in our world, they now manifest themselves in other ways, and so the symbolism of peaceful resolution of divergent sonorities remains as relevant as ever. From Brian’s son Barra we know that his father ‘particularly relished the challenge of composing for unusual combinations of performers. When commissioned in 1986 to compose a work for the Dublin International Organ Festival specifically for performance in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin he addressed the challenge of composing an ensemble work for performance in the resonant cathedral acoustic that included the cathedral organ, positioned as it is high up at the transept crossing, by scoring for three contrasting instrumental timbres (organ, pedal harp and percussion), each of which sounds independently, but also in ‘confrontation’ with each other.’ Martin Adams, writing in 2001, aptly described Boydell’s approach to the instruments in this piece: ‘the discourse between them is subtle, scaled like chamber music, with oppositions resolved by coming together, rather than by coercion.’

Unlike Boydell, I am often aware of and deliberately use extra-musical influences in my compositions, and these connections are explained in the following programme note:

The Lauding Ear is based on Psalm 150, a psalm of praise which names a range of musical instruments used in ancient temple worship. These are all emulated in the piece, and the sequence follows the order of the psalm verses. Two other musical sources are briefly referred to later in the work: Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn’s setting of Psalm 22, ‘My God, why have you forsaken me’, explores the idea that praise can be a prayer of sacrifice at times when the sentiment is far from our emotions. This theme is quoted in the timpani. The other musical reference is to illuminate the words ‘clanging cymbal’ in the psalm: we associate these words with those of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:1, namely that acting without love is akin to a clanging cymbal. Therefore the chant, ubi caritas is quoted (in harp harmonics) as a reminder of the necessity of love in any action. Two of the musicians process with instruments at each end of the piece to suggest that a festal psalm like this one would originally have been used with movement and procession. Some portable instruments associated with worship are included, for example, temple gongs, temple bowls, temple blocks, a portable harp strapped to the player, and water. The immersion of an instrument in water echoes the idea of baptism. The title of the piece is mainly an anagram for Dun Laoghaire and suggests that listening itself can be an act of praise. The work is written in memory of my uncle, Michael O’Leary, a music lover devoted in faith.

Anne-Marie O’Farrell, June 2017

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord.
praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord. (New International Version)

 

Performance Notes

The Lauding Ear - Anne-Marie O'Farrell and
Confrontations in a Cathedral - Brian Boydell

Performance notes

The Lauding Ear
Composer’s note: if a portable strapped wire- or gut-strung harp is not available for the opening and close of the work, the percussionist should process alone, while the harpist remains seated and uses the pedal harp for bars 1–9 and 205–219. Organ registrations given are suggested colours, and are subject to balance when applied to different instruments.

Percussion required: Roto toms, large suspended cymbal, gong, Chinese cymbal, small cymbal, tubular bells, xylophone, temple bowl, 2 temple gongs or similar of varying sizes, large bowl of water (towel), and 4 timpani tuned to G2, B2, C3, G sharp3 as indicated in bar 1 of the score.

Confrontations in a Cathedral
Composer’s note: Being written for performance in a reverberant cathedral, precise coordination in ensemble is not required. The harp should be placed at the front of the chancel, and the percussion should be some distance away.

Editor’s note: some errors in the original score have been corrected, and use of enharmonics is suggested in the harp part of bars 42–44, 126–128 and 142–144.
Percussion required: Roto toms, large suspended cymbal, gong, Chinese cymbal, small cymbal, tubular bells, xylophone, and 4 timpani tuned to F sharp 2, B flat 2, E3, G3.

Acknowledgments

The support of the following is most gratefully acknowledged: David Adams and the committee of Dun Laoghaire Organ Concerts, Barra Boydell and the committee of the Boydell Centenary Conference, Tim Creighton Griffiths, Noel Eccles, Simon Harden, Denise Kelly McDonnell, Roger Moffatt, Carole O’Connor, Paul Smyth of Grant’s graphic design, Gavan Woods and St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Front cover image by kind permission of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

Library Information

Title: The Lauding Ear Confrontations in a Cathedral
Composers: Anne-Marie O'Farrell Brian Boydell
Instrumentation: Pedal Harp, Organ & Percussion
Level: Advanced
Score: A4 stapled full performing score - 38 pages
Weight: 150g
Our Ref: SM0564
ISMN: 979-0-57046-225-4
Publisher: Anne-Marie O'Farrell
Distributor: Creighton's Collection
Edition/Year: 2017
Origin: EU

Sample Pages

First two pages from - The Lauding Ear - Anne-Marie O'Farrell
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