From the streets of Georgian Dublin to the wilds of County Down, from the legendary Carolan to the magnificent Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, on Friday September 25th the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra salutes four distinctive Irish composers whose music gloriously fuses past and present, live from the National Concert Hall.

Listen to the concert live above, and download your concert programme here.

Arthur Duff's delightfully romantic suite for strings, Echoes of Georgian Dublin, pays tribute to an ornate period in the capital’s history. Cast with watercolour-delicacy in a bright, buoyant form elegantly appropriated from the baroque, it’s a beguiling exercise in nostalgia full of warmth and flowing lyricism.

Strings are to the fore, too, in John Kinsella’s exquisite Nocturne. Originally the slow movement of his Second Violin Concerto, it begins and ends with the gently rocking motion of a lullaby that frames a number of intertwined themes that reach a startling moment of climax before receding into comforting calm.

Composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin described his own Oileán/Island for flute and string orchestra as 'not so much a fusion of traditional and classical music as a conversation between the two traditions’. It’s a timeless, beautiful, reflective piece in which past and present fuse into something new and special. It features the virtuosic Mark Redmond on flute, who also doubles on uilleann pipes in Ó Súilleabháin’s atmospheric Bean Dubh an Ghleanna, a haunting homage to a mysterious ‘dark woman of the glen’.

Finally, from the gifted composer and arranger Neil Martin, new imaginings of a trio of seminal works: the perennially popular Danny Boy and, for strings and pipes, the legendary blind harpist-composer Turlough O’Carolan’s lilting, porcelain-delicate The Fairy Queen and the infectiously lively traditional jig, The Humours of Ballyloughlin.


Arthur Duff Echoes of Georgian Dublin

John Kinsella Nocturne for Strings

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin Bean Dubh an Ghleanna

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin Oileán

Traditional arr. Neil Martin The Fairy Queen

Traditional arr. Neil Martin Danny Boy

Traditional arr. Neil Martin The Humours of Ballyloughlin

Watch the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Live on Friday September 25th on RTÉ Culture from 7 pm.