The Irish Consort, director Siobhán Armstrong

Róisín O’ Grady (soprano), Róisín Elsafty (Irish song), Jacob Heringman (Renaissance lute), Ronan Browne (Irish pipes & whistles), Sylvie Moquet (treble & bass viol), Reiko Ichise (viol), Edward Tapceanu (bass viol), Siobhán Armstrong (early Irish harp, director)

Directed by historical harpist, Siobhán Armstrong, The Irish Consort is a unique ensemble that brings together the expertise and passion of some of Europe’s finest early music performers with that of prize-winning, traditional Irish musicians and singers, revealing gems at the intersection of Irish and European early music.

This programme  explores Ireland’s position, in the early modern period, as an English colony, ruled by English monarchs. It includes some of the earliest extant Irish music: monastic plainchant; ancient solo Irish harp compositions, the oldest surviving Irish songs and dances, together with music familiar to the Elizabethan colonists: melancholic lute songs by John Dowland, lively consort music by William Byrd, and European Renaissance dances composed by Cormac McDermott, a royal Irish harper at the English court.

Later 17th– and 18th century music includes Irish harp songs by Connellon and Carolan, Italian baroque-influenced Irish music, and the searing sound of the solo Irish pipes, which matches the melting sound of Armstrong’s brass-wire-strung, early Irish harp.

Renaissance music of the colonists:

(From Music, Ireland and the sixteenth century, The Irish Consort / Siobhán Armstrong: DC1801)

And music of the native Irish harper composers: