restricted access Foreword
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

vi FOREWORD T his book is a very important contribution to liturgical musicology in the Catholic tradition and it achieves a number of tasks admirably. The study examines three settings of the mass ordinary by the two Cúil Aodha composers, father and son, Seán and Peadar Ó Riada. The principal focus is on compositional process and the primacy and integrity of the liturgical text, in this case the Irish vernacular. It is the first time that Seán Ó Riada’s mass settings have been the focus of a study in their own right. Given that Peadar Ó Riada inherited the direction of Cór Chúil Aodha from his father and that he too has contributed significantly to the corpus of vernacular liturgical chant, it is entirely appropriate that the compositions of father and son be treated together. Those who work at the pastoral coalface of Catholic liturgical music in Ireland know and respect the work of Dr John O’Keeffe through his patient and devoted service as Director of Sacred Music at St Patrick’s College, Maynoothforovertwenty-fiveyears.Thiswealthofliturgicalexperienceand reflection on music and liturgy is evident in his own liturgical compositions and his teaching. As a lecturer and choral director at Maynooth he has influenced countless students and seminarians. The present work distils those many years of experience and thinking about liturgical music, and introduces these insights to a wider audience in Ireland and beyond. While the focus of this study is Irish, the message is universal: the pre-eminence of the text in the compositional process in the masses of Seán and Peadar Ó Riada should be the aim of all liturgical music worthy of the name. IcannotthinkofanyoneelsewhocoulddofulljusticetotheÓRiadamass settings: John O’Keeffe has the range of skills and competence for this task. He draws on his knowledge of western medieval chant, the contemporary vernacular Catholic tradition, Irish traditional music, liturgical studies and ethnomusicology to inform his analysis and discussion. O’Keeffe’s deep knowledge and experience of Gregorian chant is especially evident in his analysis of the Ó Riada compositions. The examination of modality in all three mass settings reflects recent researches in medieval chant scholarship and it is refreshing to see Jean Claire’s concept of ‘archaic modality’ used in this Irish context. The analysis of Peadar Ó Riada’s Aifreann Eoin na Croise is very rich with its emphasis on motivic structure and text-motif vii FOREWORD relationships in this work. These central chapters on the three mass settings are also enriched by the author’s deep awareness of the importance of debates on orality and oral transmission in ethnomusicological studies and in recent chant scholarship. The analysis of the mass settings is infused with insights from the work of Treitler, Jeffery, Dobszay, Nowacki, Cowdery and other eminent scholars. The mass settings of Seán Ó Riada emerge out of a milieu where religious faith and culture were inextricably united. They have stood the test of time very well. They retain a place in the Irish psyche which is probably due to the continuing reverence for the role of Seán Ó Riada in the re-vitalisation of Irish traditional music in the 1960s and ’70s. When the young composer, Seán Ó Riada, moved with his family to the Irish-speaking village of Cúil Aodha in the Múscraí Gaeltacht of west Cork, he immersed himself in the rich tradition of ornamented Irish song. There he established a choir of men and boys, known as ‘Cór Chúil Aodha’, now under the direction of his son, Peadar. Seán Ó Riada’s intellectual and spiritual contacts with the Benedictine monks of Glenstal Abbey and his rootedness in the traditions of Múscraí, provided the inspiration and focus for his two settings of the mass ordinary in Irish, Ceol an aifrinn and Aifreann 2. These mass settings have not always travelled well beyond the Múscraí Gaeltacht, often sounding banal and unremarkable when sung by choirs and congregations who lack feeling for the Irish song tradition and real proficiency in Irish. Within the context of Cúil Aodha itself, these mass settings are anything but banal: they are electrifying, deceptively simple and authentic, as evidenced by the recordings of Cór Chúil Aodha. Peadar Ó Riada’s more recent Aifreann Eoin na Croise exemplifies his work. He has had the opportunity to continue his father’s work within the Cúil Aodha tradition, while developing a distinctive and, as this study reveals, equally significant voice of his own. In...


pdf