ALARM WILL SOUND ENSEMBLE PERFORMS
DONNACHA DENNEHY’S THE HUNGER
A MODERN CANTATA REMEMBERING IRELAND’S GREAT FAMINE
A FREE performance with soprano Katherine Manley and Sean Nós Singer Iarla Ó Lionáird
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 8PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall
“[The Hunger] bears hearing and rehearing; one viewing is not enough time to grasp it,
let alone digest it. It is powerful, and it makes a statement” – The Washington Post
Princeton, NJ — Alarm Will Sound, “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene” (The New York Times), tours the concert version of Princeton University Professor Donnacha Dennehy’s modern cantata, The Hunger, to Princeton Sound Kitchen on September 17, 2019 at 8PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Rooted in the emotional, political, and socioeconomic devastation of Ireland’s Great Famine (1845-52), The Hunger features Alarm Will Sound with soprano Katherine Manley, and sean nós singer, and Princeton University Global Scholar, Iarla Ó Lionáird. The Irish folk music narrative is interwoven with personal, historical accounts, where the libretto principally draws from first-hand accounts by Asenath Nicholson, an American humanitarian so moved by the waves of immigrants arriving in New York that she travelled to Ireland to report from the cabins of starving families. The cantata will be paired with performances of compositions by Princeton graduate students Pascal Le Boeuf, Jenny Beck, Alyssa Weinberg, Tom Morrison, Connor Way, and Bora Yoon. Free tickets are required for this concert, available at music.princeton.edu and at 609-258-9220.
Of the piece Dennehy says, “To counterpoint Asenath Nicholson’s outsider, Anglo-American perspective, I invented an elderly Irish character, written for the sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird. I built the old man’s part from shards of one of the few songs in the sean-nós (old style) tradition to address the unfolding catastrophe, Na Prátaí Dubha (Black Potatoes), and a keening lament for a dead child that I first heard in an unaccompanied version by the astounding Donegal singer Cití Ní Ghallachóir. Gradually, as The Hunger evolves, Nicholson’s narrative line starts to assimilate some of the sean-nós material of the old man, mirroring the way that Nicholson began to cross the threshold from observer to empathetic participant. She ran her own soup kitchen briefly and became an activist, writing pleading letters to her important friends in both the States and England, seeking action that would ameliorate the deteriorating conditions for the Irish peasant class. The sense of how incapable bureaucracy is at dealing with a quickly transforming crisis, and how that bureaucracy can be used as a screen for being unfeeling, is implied by the narrative that Asenath tells of the old man’s dealings with the hunger relief station, and the way the music surges and fades, embodying the old man’s Sisyphean task.”
The staged version of The Hunger was commissioned by Alarm Will Sound and premiered at BAM’s Next Wave Festival in 2016. The project received financial assistance from New Music USA, The MAP Fund, and the Arts Council of Ireland.
|Princeton Sound Kitchen Presents: Donnacha Dennehy’s The Hunger
Performed by Alarm Will Sound, soprano Katherine Manley and Sean Nós Singer Iarla Ó Lionáird
|WHEN:||Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 8PM|
|WHAT:||A free program featuring Donnacha Dennehy’s modern cantata, alongside works by Princeton University graduate student composers|
|WHERE:||Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton University|
|TICKETS:||Free tickets are required, available at music.princeton.edu and 609.258.9220.|