"Songs and Divas"

"Songs and Divas"

Carolyn Dobbin (Mezzo Soprano) and Ruth McGinley (Piano)
Tuesday 13 June, 2013

Carolyn Dobbin
Carrickfergus-born mezzo-soprano and Samling Foundation Scholar, Carolyn Dobbin, trained on the Opera Theatre Company Young Artist Programme in Dublin and at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. In opera, Carolyn has worked with numerous companies including Irish National Opera, Dorset Opera Festival, English National Opera, Grange Park Opera, English Touring Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Castleward Opera, Stadttheater Bern (Switzerland), Mid Wales Opera, Opera Della Luna, Opera Holland Park, Opera Theatre Company, The Opera Group, Raymond Gubbay Ltd and Welsh National Opera. Carolyn established the Northern Irish Song Project which has seen her, for many years, collect and record songs by Northern Irish composers such as Hamilton Harty (one of the first to record his songs), Charles Wood (the first person to record his songs), Joan Trimble and Howard Ferguson. She is recording with Roderick Williams later this year. She has also had new song cycles written for her by contemporary Northern Irish composers.

Ruth McGinley
Derry-born Ruth McGinley had already gained widespread recognition as one of Ireland’s leading pianists by the age of 16, winning countless accolades including the piano final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year award. Studying at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at the Royal Academy and the Royal College in London, Ruth has performed as soloist with many orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, the London Mozart Players, the National Symphony Orchestra, the RTE Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra, and as a recitalist throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. She was invited to perform as soloist at the BBC Proms in the Park and to perform a solo concert at the Southbank Centre, London in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall… both career highlights. But Ruth’s love of music goes far beyond the classical world. A highly sought-after collaborator, Ruth works with musicians from many backgrounds including jazz, folk, electronic and film music.



My Lagan Love
Hamilton Harty
Cradle Song
Scythe Song
Flame in the Skies of Sunset
Charles Wood
Credhe’s Lament
At the Mid Hour of Night
Gustav Mahler Ruckert Lieder (Four Songs)
Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!
Liebst du um Schönheit
Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
Jean Sibelius Piano Solo Romance, D-flat Major Op24 Nr5
G F Handel Nel Tuo Seno (Giulio Cesare)
Hence Iris Hence Away (Semele)
Joan Trimble Green Rain
Girl's Song
O Men from the Fields
Two Excerpts from Blind Raftery
Dorothy Parke Two Songs
Traditional Air Piano Solo Méilte Cheann Dubhrann
(Arranged Neil Martin)
Havelock Nelson Dirty Work
Engelbert Humperdinck The Witch’s Aria (Hänsel und Gretel)
William Walton Madam Popova’s Aria (The Bear)


Much of this evening’s music, inspired by Carolyn Dobbin’s Northern Irish Song Project, comes from composers who have a connection with The North.

Charles Wood (1866-1926), born in Armagh, teacher and composer, eventually became Professor of Music at Cambridge University. His pupils included Vaughan Williams. He was co-founder, in 1904, of the Irish Folk Song Society.

Sir Herbert Hamilton Harty (1879-1941), composer, conductor, pianist and organist, was born in Hillsborough and eventually became the chief conductor of the Hallé Orchestra and of the LSO. He was a prolific arranger / composer of Irish songs and settings for Irish poetry.

Dorothy Parke (1904-1990), born in County Derry but living most of her life in Belfast, was a music teacher and composer, mainly of songs and piano solos, choral and vocal music, much of it for children.

Joan Trimble (1915-2000), born in Enniskillen, was a composer and pianist. Music in Fermanagh’s inaugural concert in 2015 celebrated the centenary of her birth. She studied piano with Annie Lord at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, then music at Trinity College Dublin and composition with Herbert Howells and Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music in London. Her compositions combined the impressionist harmonic language she had learned since her studies with Annie Lord with melodic and rhythmic inflections derived from Irish traditional music. The three songs we will hear this evening reflect this. Her opera, Blind Raftery, was the third opera commissioned by the BBC for television, and the first television opera written by a female composer. It emerged under difficult circumstances, since she was looking after her three small children and running her doctor husband’s surgery. Also, the director and producer demanded partial re-writes, at very short notice, to suit the vagaries of the production. The action of the performance, which went out live, had singers, orchestra and cameras in several disjointed locations, due to lack of space. Music from this opera is rarely heard so we are privileged this evening to hear two excerpts. 

Havelock Nelson (1917-1996), composer and conductor, was born in Cork, studied in Dublin but in 1947 became the conductor of the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra in Belfast, where he spent most of the remainder of his life. He specialised in composing unison songs, song cycles and solo songs.


Audience feedback

Last evening’s concert was a triumph for Music in Fermanagh, which was so ably and movingly introduced by Joanna.

Not the least aspect of the triumph was to get so many in the audience, on a Tuesday evening in high summer.  Plainly, MiF has inspired a hard core of support, people who trust you to provide the very best programmes by artists of the highest quality.  Last evening provided proof of this assertion.

- Richard