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Anakronos – The Red Book Of Ossory


Anakronos – The Red Book Of Ossory

Caitríona O'Leary, voice
Deirdre O'Leary, clarinets
Nick Roth, saxophones
Francesco Turrisi, keyboards and percussion

In 1317 Richard de Ledrede arrived in Kilkenny as the new Bishop of Ossory and immediately set about challenging the secular authorities and making a name for himself as a zealous moraliser and "scourge of heresy". He was responsible for the famous witchcraft trial of Dame Alice Kyteler, composed a fantastical and nightmarish list of charges against her and others, and caused the first person ever to be burned at the stake for witchcraft – Dame Alice’s servant, Petronella de Meath.

Ledrede was also the author of some 60 Latin verses which he intended to be sung by the priests and choristers of St. Canice's Cathedral. These verses, collected in The Red Book of Ossory, were set to popular tunes of the day which have been lost to the ages. In all probability, they have not been heard or performed for approximately 800 years.

Caitríona O’Leary has been researching and finding as many of the original tunes as possible - and where there are no extant sources - speculatively reconstructing the songs according to musicological, historical, cultural and stylistic guidelines and criteria as they relate to 14th century music. (Ledrede himself encouraged the performer to engage in the creative process when he wrote, “since they are trained singers, let them provide themselves with suitable tunes according to what these sets of words require”)

She has devised a programme of approximately 20 songs and created arrangements that are then developed with Anakronos in a collaborative process in order to formulate interpretations that create a synthesis between medieval and contemporary performance practice. The goal of this process is to perform medieval music in a manner that preserves its stylistic integrity while introducing modern elements that engender a compelling new musical experience for the artists and audiences.

The members of Anakronos are Irish and Irish-based musicians recognised for the high quality of their musicianship and their success in working in a diversity of genres including, early music, contemporary music, jazz and traditional music. They have frequently performed together and bring a wealth of experience reconstructing early music in traditional interpretations and creating imaginative new musical contexts for the performance of ancient and contemporary music.

This event is made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Arts Council.

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