Jopling conducted in Disemboweling Party - Exit-13 - Ethos Musick guise of the young composer, with paper at the ready and making jottings of the inspiration of the moment.
That inspiration, which is so clearly of the 19th century the overture has been called "a seminal work of German romanticism"sat rather oddly with Liam Halligan and Lawrence Evans's high-energy production, with frequent running entries down the aisles of the hall, an over-use of grunty, thrusty groins, and some extraordinary gurning and gyrations from the Puck of Brian Bennett.
However, as a case for the viability of Mendelssohn's music in a contemporary production, the evening was less than convincing. Predictably, her new repertoire, signposted by The House of Ill Repute, is a brazen and brassy affair, ostensibly charting the vagaries of a populace engaged in the fine art of sexual economics.
Leaden, heavy-handed lyrics Pornographybarren and bald-faced bluster The Whore of Babylon and an irritatingly adolescent desire to shock Bad do little more than reinforce the brittleness which she has exposed over the past few years.
Despite Coughlan's seemingly impenetrable hardness, though, there lurks beneath the veil of contempt a frightened child who is still searching for her own voice. Playing hardball with those singular vocal chinks of hers, she succeeds in soaring high on Ancient Rain, but squanders her range and Antarctica - Mary Coughlan - The House Of Ill Repute depth in a series of ill-chosen postcards from the edge, from Long John Baldry's A Thrill's A Thrill to Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart, all bereft of any emotional investment.
Ultimately, Coughlan rarely managed to lose herself in the songs, always coming up for air before she'd reached even the slightest hint of emotional depth. Antarctica - Mary Coughlan - The House Of Ill Repute the a cappella Antarctica was little more than too much information masquerading as emotional honesty.
With a highly competent band, she occasionally triumphed in the more spacious places where keyboards and double bass were her parachute. With some truly excruciating backing vocals from a guy called Jamie more a stray cat than a blues brotherthis was a night of creaking floorboards rather than soaring skylines. American composer Michael Byron's Dreamers of Pearl is a large-scale piano piece that operates in a world of remarkable constraint.
Although, at more than 50 minutes, it plays for as long as Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, it spends most of its time in two-part counterpoint. The obsessive, nagging lines move with a jagged rhythmic disjunction, and the whole sounds as if its energy is being consumed by balancing a process that might at any moment collapse through disequilibrium. And yet the music can be heard as a kind of landscape traversal. Byron, who was once identified as a minimalist, shirks repetition but indulges in processes that yield outcomes rich in self-similarity.
Moment by moment the music can be likened to the observation of one leaf or tree or bush after another, everything always the same yet always different. The biggest differences, of course, are between the three movements, both in levels of energy and colouring. The drive is highest in the dry textures of the outer movements, the second is haloed by pedal effects and even goes so far as introducing actual chords.
This fascinating piece has a staunch and patiently sensitive advocate in Joseph Kubera, who, in this Ergodos-promoted concert at the Unitarian Church on St Stephen's Green, successfully, as it were, kept all the necessary balls in the air. The concert opened with Ekstase IV, by Ergodos's own Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, a work which also works in two voices, a perpetually rocking perfect fifth, with a second line that roams spikily above and below it.
There may well be a viable piece to be written in this manner. On this occasion, however, Ekstase IV did not seem to be it. Meath-born restauranteur on ditching Good Citizen - Sackville - These Last Songs to see A Lazarus Soul and the allure of Rotterdam.
Reviews Tue, Oct 7, A selection of arts and cultural events are reviewed by Irish Times writers. More from The Irish Times Stage. TV, Radio, Web. Subscriber Only. Most Read in Culture. You might be surprised. On My Culture Radar. Atlantic Podcast A three-part series exploring the mystery of Peter Bergmann - the man Antarctica - Mary Coughlan - The House Of Ill Repute came to Sligo to disappear. Admittedly, she's not above hamming things up in the interests of entertainment, but she does so on the understanding that this is, or was, her life.
The showpiece, Antarctica - an ode to her "rotten, stinking cheat" of an ex-husband - is performed a cappella, with no embellishment at all. It's a fitting climax to a memorable gig. At Pocklington Arts Centre tonight. Box office: Antarctica - Mary Coughlan - The House Of Ill Repute ever, she ran through a variety of styles. Coughlan writes few of her own songs, but her choices and the way she inhabits them Antarctica - Mary Coughlan - The House Of Ill Repute them alchemically into autobiography.
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