RTÉ Living Music Festival

RTÉ organised the second RTÉ Living Music Festival, a major festival devoted to contemporary music by leading international and Irish figures, once again under the artistic direction of composer Raymond Deane. The RTÉ Living Music Festival 2004 ran from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 February inclusive in the three performance spaces of the Helix and took place in association with the French Embassy.

Following the success of the first RTÉ Living Music Festival in 2002, which paid tribute to the great Italian composer Luciano Berio, the second festival had a predominantly French focus. At its heart, three major living composers: Pierre Boulez, Pascal Dusapin and Tristan Murail.

Over the three days and eight performances of the festival, leading Irish and international conductors, soloists and ensembles could be heard in a rich and diverse programme of more than 30 works, including at least 12 Irish premières and 3 world premières. In addition, the US/Swiss composer Gerald Bennett conducted a public interview with composer Pascal Dusapin as well as giving seminars on the themes of Boulez and Mallarmé and Murail and Spectral Music.

Highlights included Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître and Sur incises with the internationally renowned Ensemble Intercontemporain (François-Xavier Roth, conductor/Hilary Summers, alto), Boulez’s Trois improvisations sur Mallarmé from Pli selon pli and Dusapin’s Apex with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Pierre-André Valade, conductor/Valdine Anderson, soprano); Satie’s Socrate with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra (Jacques Mercier, conductor/Isabelle Philippe, soprano); Murail’s Bois flotté (Crash Ensemble); and the world premières of music commissioned by RTÉ from Irish composers Siobhán Cleary, Jürgen Simpson and Ian Wilson.

Artistic director Raymond Deane comments on his choice of composers for the festival: Why these three? Boulez, because I have lived with and been alternately provoked and amazed by his music for the last 35 years. Dusapin, the least "French" of the three, because of the profound seriousness of purpose behind even his most relaxed pieces. Murail, because he enshrines a typically French sensuousness in the exploration of complex ideas. All three composers, in their very different ways, revel in the sheer beauty of musical sound.

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Published on 22/02/2004

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