Ireland’s Golden Age

Ireland’s Golden Age IBO/Monica Huggett with Siobhan Armstrong, early Irish harp and Roisin O’Grady, soprano.

The early 18th century marked Ireland’s first Golden Age. As the second city of the British Isles, Dublin was a thriving, febrile hub of building, commerce, social activity and, of course, music. Attracted by the city’s wealth, composers from all over Europe converged on Dublin, seeking inspiration and patronage. Cousser, Geminiani, Dubourg, Michael Arne, Tommaso Giordani, Handel and Pasquali visited frequently.

Meanwhile, traditional Irish music flourished through the prodigious output of the Irish harpers. Included in their number was the blind harpist Turlough Carolan who composed over 220 works that survive to this day. Inevitably, the two musical styles collided, often to joyous effect. The baroque ballad operas were probably the best examples of this exciting union, and the best known of these was The Beggar’s Opera, composed in 1728 at the suggestion of Jonathan Swift.

In this concert, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Ireland’s premiere period ensemble (led by artistic director and Grammy nominee, Monica Huggett), will present music from Ireland’s Golden Age including music by Handel, Geminiani, Vivaldi and Carolan. This unique presentation of baroque works will also feature the acclaimed early Irish harpist Siobhan Armstrong and soloist Roisin O’Grady (soprano).