for piano
duration ca 9+'
[the audio tracks referenced in the score are available as follows: Track 1 / Track 2 / Track 3]
[a four-hand version also exists]

Based on the traditional Irish air Sliabh Geal gCua (Pádraig Ó Miléadha), this piece explores the melodic contours of the air and how the piece has been transmitted aurally in the tradition, requiring the pianist to learn certain passages by ear and to respond to written stimuli. While the music follows loosely the sentiments of the poem and mimics its two-verse structure, there is a considerable element of improvisation (both compositionally, i.e. written out, and actual improvisation) reminiscent of how different traditional performers can make the same air sound worlds apart. Slow for the most part, there is a highly virtuosic section leading to the climax of the piece – a brief reel and jig section – afterwards returning to the air from whence the piece drifts to a close. 

This work is dedicated to Dr Simon Mawhinney, who gave the première of this work in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on 28th March 2012.

Past performances:​​​​​​​
12.04.2015 — Simon Mawhinney (piano), Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
04.02.2015 — Simon Mawhinney (piano), The Factory, Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, N. Ireland
24.09.2013 — Alexander Bernstein (piano), National Concert Hall, Dublin
29.03.2012 — (four-hand version) David Bremner and Izumi Kimura (piano), National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland
28.03.2012 — Simon Mawhinney (piano), National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland

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