100 Days – Day 57

Apologies for the silence over the last several days! It was end of term in St Patrick’s so I’ve been enjoying the sun and maybe one or two cocktails, and also taking some much needed time away from my laptop. This is actually the first time I’ve been on my laptop in nearly a week, and I think it’s been very good for my mental health.

Which isn’t to say I’ve not been doing any work at all on my PhD. I’ve been making a bit of a plan of action as to how to proceed, and I think I’ll be going in reverse order – Movement 7 back to Movement 5 initially, then the first two movements.

I’m going to Sweden with St Patrick’s on Friday for 4 days, and won’t be bringing my laptop, so I might not blog between now and then, but I’ll be printing out the 7th movement and trying to get a good bit of work done on the big fugue, as the rest of this movement is pretty much finished, except for a few proportion issues at the end.

Of course, there are other elements to my PhD too. I’m leaving my write-up (ca. 30,000 words I believe) until the very end, but part of what I have to do in that is justify why my music is PhD-worthy. A part of what I’m going to be talking about is the general lack of pieces of music of this scale in the Irish language, that aren’t wholly dependent on Irish traditional music material for their main focus. To this end I’ve been reading about Sean Ó Riada. Other than his most famous work, Mise Éire, most of Ó Riada’s large scale work seems to have been totally separate from his work as a traditional musician. Indeed, they are almost all based on Greek sources. There’s a lot more work to be done in this field, I think, but I wonder if the fact that Irish traditional music grew up apart from any classical tradition, while that on the continent was always aware of it and surrounded by it, explains to some extent why there has never been “An Irish Bartok”. Not that I think there should be. But it’s an interesting thought all the same.