Brendan Finan is a teacher and writer. Visit www.brendanfinan.net.
Music for Galway's annual midwinter festival, which took place online at the weekend (22–24 January), focused on a single, relentlessly inventive work: the Goldberg Variations. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Irish mezzo Tara Erraught performed on 15 November at Dublin Castle as part of Irish National Opera's livestream series, Mezzo Masterpieces. Brendan Finan reviews.
Composer Ed Bennett's new album 'Psychedelia' includes a number of large-scale works and features Decibel, Kate Ellis, Eliza McCarthy and Jack McNeill. Brendan Finan reviews.
Jennifer Walshe's recent album, 'A Late Anthology of Early Music Vol. 1: Ancient to Renaissance', uses Artificial Intelligence to reimagine the taught history of Western music. Brendan Finan reviews.
Andrew Hamilton's new album, 'Joy', on the Ergodos label, is a collection of solo works for violin and voice – performed by the composer himself. Brendan Finan reviews.
A recently published book by Laura Watson on the French composer Paul Dukas is the first full-length academic study of the artist in English and explores his range of music and his music criticism. Brendan Finan reviews.
On Finghin Collins' latest release on Claves records, he is joined by Roseanne Philippens, Istvan Várdai and Máté Szücs for a performance of Mozart's two Piano Quartets. Brendan Finan reviews.
A new collection of Irish-language art songs, written by a range of Irish and international composers, is being premiered in three concerts at the National Concert Hall. Brendan Finan reviews the first concert which took place on 15 February.
Donnacha Dennehy's famine-themed work 'The Hunger' received its European premiere in Dublin last week. Brendan Finan reviews.
Lau fiddle-player Aidan O'Rourke has just released his fifth solo album, twenty-five tune compositions in response to the stories of James Robertson, accompanied by jazz pianist Kit Downes. Brendan Finan reviews.
Louth Contemporary Music Society's festival focussed on the work of Kaija Saariaho this year (21–22 June), with the composer in attendance. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Colin Currie Quartet gave the Irish premiere of Kevin Volans' '4 Marimbas' at the recent Great Music in Irish Houses festival, as well as performances of works by Reich, Pereira, Xenakis and Stockhausen. Brendan Finan reviews.
Louth Contemporary Music Society presented the world premiere of Canadian composer Nicole Lizée's 'Spielberg Études' at Drogheda Arts Festival on 4 May, as well as her 'Hitchcock Études' and 'Kubrick Études'. Brendan Finan reviews the unique audio-visual works.
We’re trained to think of musical winters in a certain way, writes Brendan Finan, but Ergodos' latest release, featuring the Ficino Ensemble and a new work by Garrett Sholdice, brings the unexpected.
Irish National Opera's current production of 'Madama Butterfly', exploring themes of exploitation and naïveté, works extremely well – sometimes disconcertingly so, writes Brendan Finan.
Last week, the RIAM presented an Irish opera premiere and TU Dublin Conservatoire presented a Baroque opera double bill, featuring a range of emerging artists. Brendan Finan reviews.
The Fidelio Trio's second album of French piano trios has all the fine musicianship of the busy trio, writes Brendan Finan, but too many eccentricities.
Irish National Opera's final production of its first season is a non-traditional retelling of Verdi's 'Aida' featuring Gwyn Hughes Jones, Orla Boylan and Imelda Drumm in the lead roles. A visually spectacular production, it brings the story's imperialism to the centre, writes Brendan Finan.
Brendan Finan reviews two recordings from the diverse musical world of Roger Doyle – his 2018 'Heresy' opera and a forthcoming release of new pieces based on the same work.
The 2018 edition of New Music Dublin featured two ambitious concertos by Unsuk Chin and Kevin Volans exploring the language of the traditional sheng from China and the Irish uilleann pipes. Brendan Finan reviews.
Collaboration is at the heart of Seán Mac Erlaine's third album on the Ergodos label, in which patterns and textures shift subtly and constantly. Brendan Finan reviews.
From Rebecca Saunders and Séverine Ballon to Gavin Bryars and Galina Grigorjeva, the music at The Book of Hours two-day festival in Louth knew no borders, writes Brendan Finan.
'The Golden Cassette', a recording of work by prolific outsider artist Caoimhín Breathnach, includes his subliminal tapes, which he subjected to odd physical processes, from burning them to screening kung fu films for them. The experience of listening goes beyond the music, writes Brendan Finan.
At this year's Drogheda Arts Festival, Louth Contemporary Music Society presented a spectralist work from the 1970s alongside a postminimalist one from the last decade and a series of techno-inspired shorts. Brendan Finan finds the connections.
Irish National Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro was fresh, visually arresting and cartoonish, writes Brendan Finan. But why does opera still rely on women's stories as told by men?
Brendan Finan finds self-assurance and careful design in this new collection of Bill Whelan's orchestral works, released on the RTÉ Lyric FM label.
Music by Simon O'Connor, John McLachlan, Piazzolla and the Conor Guilfoyle Octet – more variegated works would be hard to find, writes Brendan Finan about Kaleidoscope's spring event which took place earlier this month.
Brendan Finan reviews a recent staging of Michael William Balfe's 'The Sleeping Queen' – the second Irish opera revival in recent months.
Opera could use more moments like this, particularly in Ireland, writes Brendan Finan about the recent performance of Robert O'Dwyer's Irish-language work 'Eithne', but what about the music?
The celebrated Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino visited Ireland for the first time in June for a festival of his music presented by Louth Contemporary Music Society. Brendan Finan reviews the final concert featuring flautist Matteo Cesari, Quartetto Prometeo and Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart.