Patrice Keegan, From ancient to avant-garde: The evolution of the organ in Ireland and a performer's analysis of five contemporary pieces for solo organ (DMusPerf, Royal Irish Academy of Music, 2022)

These details defined Tue Dec 15 16:29:32 2020, last updated Fri Jul 8 18:12:58 2022  edit
 Author:  Keegan, Patrice 
 Title:  From ancient to avant-garde: The evolution of the organ in Ireland and a performer's analysis of five contemporary pieces for solo organ  
 Degree, institution:  DMusPerf, Royal Irish Academy of Music 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2022 
 Volumes, pp.:  1 vol (vi, 201 pp.)  
 Supervisor(s):  Denise Neary  
 Repository:  Royal Irish Academy of Music Library . 
 General specialism:  Musicology: Performance Studies  
 Content, key terms:  Concepts:
Genres, instruments: 
Jonathan Nangle; Eric Sweeney; Fergus Johnston; Sebastian Adams; Rose Connolly
Christ Church Cathedral; St Patrick's Cathedral
Organ; Irish solo organ compositions

The organ is an instrument with a lengthy and diverse history. Woven into the very fabric of the venues in which they are situated, organs envelop listeners in a world of sound and resonance. Much has been written on the history of the organ and its development by such scholars as Nicholas Thistlethwaite, Peter Williams and Stephen Bicknell. This historical knowledge has given vital insight into the beginnings of the organ and the various traits in different countries with regard to the progression of the instrument. This historicism, as well as the inexorable link between the organ and religion, has had both advantages and disadvantages for the perception of the instrument. This thesis explores these resulting perceptions and provides context for the subsequent critical investigation of five solo organ compositions by Irish composers.

These five contemporary pieces – Toccata L’Homme Armé by Jonathan Nangle, The Secret Rose by Eric Sweeney, Karanfilo Mome by Fergus Johnston, 2019.7 by Sebastian Adams, and Strength by Rose Connolly – are examined in detail with a focus on the challenges each piece presents and the approaches that can be taken to overcome these difficulties. The extended techniques utilised in these pieces use the organ in new and innovative ways, while the compositional styles highlight the capabilities of the instrument as well as the possibilities it can offer the composer. Sound recordings of all pieces are included, a world premiere performance in the case of Strength by Rose Connolly, to enhance the discussion of these pieces and to serve as research artefacts. The evolving role of the organ is the central focus of this dissertation. This examination of a selection of contemporary pieces for solo organ, within the context of the history of the organ in Ireland, demonstrates the full potential this unique instrument offers to composer, audience, and performer.