In Mary’s Eye for solo cello performed by Adrian Mantu, composed as part of Anne- Marie O’Farrell’s residency in Composition in Mary Immaculate College Limerick, supported by the Arts Council.
This piece was inspired by the name of Mary Immaculate College, and an exploration of the meaning of that name. In Marian icons, the gaze of Mary is of paramount importance, sometimes drawing the viewer in, and sometimes focusing on the Christ-child. Another point of ignition for this piece was the mural by artist Joe Caslin on Limerick’s Dock Road, which from a distance resembles a more traditional image of Mary, veiled in white. At closer range, the image of a teenage boy becomes clear, as he gazes intently, perhaps expressing a sense of being disenfranchised.
Mary herself during her first pregnancy must surely have experienced a sense of disenfranchisement, and if not then, certainly at a later time in her life when she found herself the mother of a most controversial and countercultural spiritual leader. These two figures, Mary and the teenage boy, are expressed in the voice of the cello, Mary in the high, song-like passages, while the boy is expressed in the lower register of the instrument through energetic rhythmic patterns which never quite settle—until the close of the piece, that is, when the two voices meet, across both registers and come to rest.