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The Invisible Art: A Century of Music in Ireland 1916-2016

The Invisible Art: A Century of Music in Ireland 1916-2016
  • The Invisible Art: A Century of Music in Ireland 1916-2016



'A thoroughly researched and wonderfully illustrated survey of modern Irish classical music' - The Sunday Times

Edited by Irish Times music critic Michael Dervan and produced in conjunction with Composing the IslandThe Invisible Art is published in association with RTÉ and Bord na Móna. With pieces commissioned from an array of expert writers covering this key period in Irish musical composition, this lavishly illustrated book will bring to life this unique art form in Ireland across the last century.

For the first time, The Invisible Art examines the work of Irish composers from before the founding of the Irish state right up to the twenty-first century. From valiant pioneers struggling against the tide to confident, highly individual twenty-first-century voices, it also highlights the difficulties musical creators faced in securing a clearly defined place in wider Irish society.

The Invisible Art brings to life the music of a nation: from Rhoda Coghill’s cantata Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking, written on the grounds of Trinity College during Ireland’s Civil War ‘with, just around the corner, bullets and grenades flying’, to Gerald Barry’s irreverent operatic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, ‘the first great comic opera of the twenty-first century’. The views of the composers themselves are coupled with contributions by leading interpreters and experts to make for a rich narrative in this lavishly illustrated homage to an underappreciated art.

The Invisible Art is a work of outstanding artistic and cultural merit that will appeal to anyone seriously interested in the music of our time, and is a must-have on any music lover’s bookshelf.

Composing the Island

‘Composing the Island’ will be a three-week-long festival featuring music written between 1916 and 2016, and will be presented in September 2016 by Bord na Móna in association with RTÉ and the National Concert Hall. Taking place at the NCH and broadcast on Lyric FM, it will include six major orchestral concerts with RTÉ‘s National Symphony and Concert Orchestras, and a further twenty concerts by a range of performers including the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, RTÉ Cór na nÓg and the RTÉ Contempo Quartet.

About the Contributors

MICHAEL DERVAN is Ireland’s most widely read music writer. He edited the music magazines Soundpost and Music Ireland. He has been Music Critic of The Irish Times since 1986 and won the first AT Cross Critic of the Year Award in 1988. His radio series, Countdown, Sampling the Century, a 100-
programme, year-by-year survey of the music of the twentieth century, was broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM in 1999. He has contributed widely to publications at home and abroad, including the Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland.

The Invisible Art also has a host of high-profile authors from the world of music, including Kevin O’Connell, head of composition at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Proinnsías Ó Duinn, conductor laureate for the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and David Harrington, leader of the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet.

There are also contributions from members of Aosdána, Carnegie Hall, and the Royal Academy of Music, sopranos and conductors, as well as lecturers and heads of music departments from academic institutions such as Trinity College, University College Dublin and London University.


Michael Dervan


Large-Format, Hardback





Release Date

September 2016

Additional Information

Weight 1.25 g
Dimensions 220 × 240 × .25 mm


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