Errigal Suite (2007)

“…..an appealing Donegal-trad-style sequence of dances.” – Michael Dungan, The Irish Times

Original version for Traditional Irish musician (variable), 2 gtr.

A version for guitar quartet also exists.

Duration: 15 mins

Commissioned by Temple Bar Cultural Trust. Premiered by Clive Carroll (steel string guitar), John Feeley (nylon guitar) and Alec O’Leary (nylon guitar). July 2007. Walton’s Guitar Festival of Ireland, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.

Programme Note

I – Strathspey
II – Mazurka
III – Slip Jig
IV – Highland
V – Cadenza
VI – Reel

Errigal Suite is a continuous suite in 6 parts for 2 guitars and a traditional Irish musician as soloist. In the premiere it was another guitarist (Clive Carroll) but it can conceivably be played on any traditional instrument with chromatic capabilities.

Errigal is a beautiful mountain in the heart of the Donegal Irish speaking Gaeltacht area. It was the location for the Frankie Kennedy Winter School which I attended on many occasions.

The music is thus strongly inspired by Donegal fiddle music. It is dedicated to the memory of the great Donegal fiddler John Doherty.

Each part of the suite is based on a traditional dance form common to Donegal, except for the fifth part which is a classical guitar cadenza based on the final reel which closes the suite.

I dedicated this last reel to the great Donegal piano accordionist Martin Tourish. It is called ‘Tourish’s Tour Around the Box.’