for symphony orchestra, by Anne-Marie O’Farrell
Eitilt was commissioned by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra for the New Music Dublin Festival at the National Concert Hall, Dublin in April 2021, conducted by David Brophy. The title means flight or airborne, – air being the carrier of sound, and as wind, it is also a metaphor for inspiration.
It is in five movements, and contains many musical elements inherited from Irish musical tradition. Some of these are newly composed, while others directly reference well-known Irish songs and anthems. There are associations with moments of national sentiment, as well as glimpses of audioscape from Ireland’s national broadcaster.
Universal themes of joy, grief, and the preciousness of children are mirrored in Ireland’s trinity of song forms, the suantraí (lullaby), goltraí (lament) and geantraí (invigorating music), all of which are represented here. The suantraí of the fourth movement is paired with a hymn, suggesting the distortion of religion for authoritarian ends, sadly common in the Ireland of the last hundred years. The legacy of our national instrument, the harp, is glimpsed in melodic contours of the finale movement. A range of compositional techniques enables the creation of pitch and rhythmic systems, enhanced by occasional use of extended techniques to further enlarge the palette of colours. There are many instrumental solos throughout, to showcase the outstanding individual artistry of the musicians of Ireland’s National Symphony Orchestra, and to reflect the soloistic origins of many of the musical ideas in the work.