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Big night in Westport

Sunday, 16th April, 2017 6:41pm

Big night in Westport

Richard Hughes

LOCAL musical protégée Richard Hughes neatly combines his Westport 250 celebration with the rediscovery of Westport composer Jane Anne MacDonnell in a gala fundraising evening at Westport Town Hall.

The programme includes Jane Anne MacDonnell’s quadrilles, the premiere of Richard Hughes' composition celebrating Westport 250, and music by Mozart and Haydn.

The entire proceeds of the night are in aid of the town hall, and this exceptional musical evening takes place this evening (Sunday, April 16) at 8 p.m.

Jane Anne MacDonnell was a composer who lived in Westport in the mid-1800s. Her recently rediscovered Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick quadrilles were composed in 1865. Dedicated to the Dowager Marchioness of Sligo, the five quadrilles are named for islands in Clew Bay – Clare Island, Inishturk, Inishbofin, Achill Island and the Scotch Bonnet. The last is a small island in the inner bay better known today as Scotsman’s Bonnet.

The quadrille was a popular dance at the time and given the dedication, it’s not too fanciful to imagine couples in Westport House dancing to these local tunes.

Emerging young composer Richard Hughes is showcasing two original compositions. The first, entitled An Shraith Thiar - The Western Suite, was specially written to celebrate Westport 250 and is dedicated to the town. The music touches lightly on Irish musical features and also incorporates 20th and 21st century styles. The second is Variations On The Theme - Amhrán na bhFiann, which was composed for the 1916 centenary. It consists of eight variations.

Richard is the son of Harry and Deirdre Hughes and is currently studying music and mathematics in Trinity College. He is a member of the Irish Composers Collective.

The programme also includes music from these two 18th century masters. Richard Hughes will play the second movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Mozart composed this concerto at the tender and truly remarkable age of 11. Joseph Haydn was also a child prodigy but composed his Sonata in D (Hob. XVI) at the latter end of his career. Hughes will perform the first and third movements of this, one of Haydn’s finest sonatas.

An exceptional night’s entertainment is promised, a combination of old and new music performed and presented by a truly talented Westport musician.


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