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Music for Galway concerts to brighten winter months



Date Published: {J}

It’s autumn. The swallows are leaving. The leaves are falling. The nights are getting longer. But consolation comes from Music for Galway which has just launched its programme for 2011/2012.

Musicians from Ireland, The UK, The Ukraine, The Netherlands, Norway, Germany and Romania – some old friends, some new – will visit Galway from October until April for concerts and talks.

A special feature of this year’s season is a Meet the Musicians strand where the artists talk about their work informally or meet with young musicians.

Music for Galway’s season kicks off on Tuesday, October 11 with the RTE Vanbrugh Quartet, who team up with Andrea Banciu and Adrian Mantu, the viola and cello players from the Galway based ConTempo Quartet. The programme will include Brahms’ magnificent Sextet for Strings, and an open rehearsal will take place at Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe in the city’s St Mary’s College on Monday, October 10 at 5pm as part of Meet the Musicians.

Celebrity violinist Nicola Benedetti and friends visit in October for a concert featuring duos and trios for violin, cello and piano. Following her sell-out performances here last year with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, early booking is recommended for this performance, at NUIG’s Aula Maxima. It includes a pre-concert discussion with the musicians.

In November, there’s a two-night feast of Bach with Malcolm Proud performing all the Bach Partitas for solo harpsichord at the Aula Maxima. A film, The Chronicles of Anna Magdalena Bach, focusing on Bach’s life and music, will be screened as part of that event.

Handel’s Messiah, performed by Resurgam and the Irish Baroque Orchestra sets the scene for Christmas on December 10 in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church.

Music for Galway’s Midwinter Festival returns to the Town Hall Theatre in January. Entitled Intimate Voices, it features the ConTempo Quartet and the vibrant Dutch Amstel Quartet in an eclectic programme, which will show some fantastic music in a new light.

The programme include Bach Fugues arranged by Mozart; Wagner’s Ring Cycle in 21 minutes; Sibelius’s Intimate Voices quartet; and compositions by Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt among others.

Baritone Gavan Ring, winner of the inaugural Bernadette Greevy Bursary joins ConTempo for Samuel Barber’s evocative Dover Beach while choreographer Judith Sibley and video artist Mihai Cucu add their talent to the mix. Meet the Musicians will take place with young Galway music students and ConTempo’s Apprentice Ensemble, the Chatham Saxophone Quartet.

Mozart is celebrated in February, when there’s a chamber music series of the great composer’s works with Norwegian violinist Marianne Thorsen, cellist Alice Neary and pianist Viv McLean. The Mozart weekend includes a screening of Phil Grabsky’s renowned documentary film, In Search of Mozart.

In February Dutch group Black Pencil will perform contemporary arrangements of folk tunes from the northern coast of South America in a concert at the Aula Maxima at NUIG.

Other highlights of the 2011/2012 season include two special programmes to celebrate the 150th birthday of the French composer Claude Debussy in 2012. In February UK pianist Rolf Hind will bring an imaginative recital programme entitled Debussy and Beyond. During his visit, Rolf will meet the public away from the piano for a presentation on ‘Musicians and Mindfulness’.

Meanwhile, in March, popular Dutch soprano Lenneke Ruiten returns to perform a selection of songs by Debussy and Chausson, with ConTempo Quartet and pianist Thom Jannsen.

In April the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra returns to Galway with pianist and conductor Barry Douglas in an all-Brahms programme. That concert is in Leisureland.

The National Chamber Choir ends the season on April 20 with music from Tarik O’Regan’s recently recorded on CD, Accalam na Senórach, or Tales of the Elders. That’s at St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church.

Full details on the season, booking details and membership options are available from Music for Galway at 091 705962, or


Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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