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Composer Osvaldo Golijov’s new concerto, 'The Given Note,' inspired by Irish Poet Seamus Heaney

Composer Osvaldo Golijov’s new concerto "The Given Note" is inspired
by Irish Poet Seamus Heaney. (Courtesy)
Composer Osvaldo Golijov’s new concerto "The Given Note" is inspired by Irish Poet Seamus Heaney. (Courtesy)

Composer Osvaldo Golijov’s newest composition was inspired by a single line by the late Irish Nobel Prize laureate, Seamus Heaney: “Sing yourself to where the singing comes from.”

That line, he says, was a sort of invitation to create his innovative concerto “The Given Note,” an homage to Heaney’s poem of the same name. The new piece, like Heaney’s poem, draws from the traditional Irish folk song “Port NaBpucai,” but also includes an innovative dialogue between violinist and concertmaster, as well as a sequence inspired by a jam session described in Alejo Carpentier’s novel “Concieto Barroco.”

The piece had its world debut earlier this month at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, where Golijov is composer-in-residence. He discusses his latest work with host Robin Young.

Music in this segment includes:

  • Osvaldo Golijov’s “The Given Note”
  • Johnny Gandelsman, violin soloist
  • The Knights’ Colin Jacobsen, artistic director and concertmaster
  • Eric Jacobsen, artistic director and conductor

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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