(bBratislava, 22 Jan 1961). Slovak soprano. After studies at the Bratislava Conservatory and a period (from 1979) as soloist at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, she moved to Germany in 1983 and became a member of the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern and, later, the Stadttheater in Hagen. Mozart roles featured in her wide repertory here, and even more so after she appeared at the Vienna Volksoper in 1988 as Donna Anna and Pamina. She repeated Pamina at both Aix-en-Provence and the Vienna Staatsoper in 1989, made her Salzburg début in 1990 as Marzelline (Fidelio), and sang Konstanze (the role of her Paris début) around Europe, recording the part to acclaim with John Eliot Gardiner. Orgonasova first appeared at Covent Garden in 1993 as Aspasia (Mitridate), and her other Mozart parts include Ilia, Fiordiligi and Giunia (Lucio Silla). Her operatic repertory has also embraced Agathe, Offenbach's Giulietta, Amina (La sonnambula), Lucia, Gilda, Violetta, Luisa Miller, Mimì and Liù, Gounod's Marguerite, Micaëla, Antonia and Sophie, and Stravinsky's Nightingale. Her first Handel role (Alcina in Barcelona, 1999) and subsequent performances in concert as Armida in Rinaldo (a role she has also recorded) showed off the pearly sheen and focussed brilliance of her coloratura. Outstanding among her non-operatic recordings are Haydn's ‘Nelson’ Mass, Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Rossini's Stabat mater and Britten's War Requiem.
Orgue à manivelle [de Barbarie]
Orgue de chambre [orgue de salon]
An organ containing free-reed pipes with resonators, a precursor of the Reed organ. It was exhibited in Paris by G.-J. Grenié in 1810. Its double bellows and reservoir system permitted dynamic variations through control of wind pressure by the player’s feet on blowing treadles. The term ‘orgue expressif’ was later applied to any French harmonium having this kind of expression capability.
(b Cork, 1 Aug 1931; d London, 3 Oct 1971). Irish composer. He was educated by the Christian Brothers at Adare, County Limerick, and at University College, Cork, where he read classics and then music (BMus 1952). He also studied music with Aloys Fleischmann (senior), to whose memory he dedicated a short song-cycle in 1964. In 1953 he was appointed assistant director of music at Radio Éireann, and in the same year he married Ruth Coghlan, with whom he was to have seven children. After a brief spell in Paris in 1955, where he performed as a pianist and came under the influence of Messiaen and his circle, he was appointed director of music at the Abbey Theatre (1955–62). During the Dublin Theatre Festival of 1961, Ó Riada presented Ceoltóirí Cualann – his ensemble of traditional Irish instrumentalists, singers and harpsichord – for the first time. From 1963 until 1971 he held the Cork Corporation Lectureship in Music at University College, Cork.
Throughout his career, Ó Riada explored almost every medium of musical life in Ireland: radio, television, theatre and film, concert hall, church and a host of domestic settings. At first, he entered a decisive claim for the significance of an emancipated art music in modern Ireland; he later abandoned this claim in a crisis, personal and professional, through which composition became for him a marginal activity. In his symphonic essays, his music for film and in his cultivation of an original ensemble of instruments for the traditional repertory, he meditated on the question of voice and style in Irish music to the extent that each overlapping phase of his compositional development undermined its predecessor. The early compositions, including Nomos no.1 (Hercules dux Ferrariae) and Nomos no.2, signify a preoccupation with art music in the European tradition that is wholly removed from the traditional repertory which was to dominate Ó Riada’s later career. These works (and the six Nomoi as a whole) suggest the influence of the Irish composer Frederick May whose Songs From Prison (1958) establishes an unmistakable precedent for the second Nomos in its scoring and language. In both works, the sensibility and technique of European modernism leave the anxiety of local influences far behind. Ó Riada’s manipulation of variation technique and modified serialism is especially adept, not withstanding the somewhat bombastic premise of the second Nomos, which glosses the history of Western music in toto.
In the second phase of his career, he committed himself with extraordinary vehemence to a project which he just as vehemently was to reject in turn. In the film scores Mise Éire (1959), Saoirse? (1960) and An Tine Bheo (1966), he sought to reconcile the ‘heritage’ of Irish folk music with ‘the idiom of an Irish symphonic period that had never happened’ (Marcus). Although Mise Éire in particular earned the composer a degree of fame hitherto unequalled by an Irish composer in the 20th century, the cultural values which it celebrated were later to be eclipsed by the crisis in Northern Ireland which erupted in 1970. Indeed Ó Riada had already felt himself ‘overexposed’ to the portrayal of Irish independence which he had been expected to glorify in An Tine Bheo. By this time, he had firmly repudiated, too, any notion of reconciliation between the European (art) and Irish (ethnic) traditions in a series of lectures broadcast as Our Musical Heritage; he pronounced the second Nomos of 1965 as his farewell to European art music. Having exchanged ‘John Reidy’ for ‘Seán Ó Riada’, the English language for Irish and European art music for Irish ‘traditional’ music, he completed this transformation with the exchange of orchestral resources for Ceoltóirí Cualann, an ensemble of virtuoso traditional musicians led by Ó Riada himself. The film scores notwithstanding, his creative energies were devoted in the main to this ensemble during the mid- to late 1960s.
Ó Riada’s increasing interest in the music of Carolan towards the end of the decade coincided with his waning commitment to Ceoltóirí Cualann (he announced that the ensemble was to disband in 1969). Although he continued to work with traditional Irish musicians, in performances of liturgical as well as secular music, his last recordings suggest a final attempt to create an inherently Irish art music. The harpsichord improvizations on Ó Riada’s Farewell, however, are the work of a broken man. Given that he showed the promise of becoming the first Irish composer of truly international significance, Ó Riada’s failure as an artist – aggravated by the plaudits of a cultural elite indifferent to European music – was especially tragic. The crisis which he endured was twofold: his own health could not withstand the chaotic plurality of his lifestyle which in turn reflected an abiding unease as to his status and development as a creative artist; although he was the only composer of his generation to be championed as a national figure, his success was inexorably wedded to his brilliant re-deployments of Irish folk music. The difficulties which he confronted have continued to affect Irish music to the present day.
Stage: Spailpín, a rúin (play with music), 1960
Film scores: Mise Éire, 1959; Saoirse?, 1960; An Tine Bheo, 1966
Orch: Olynthiac, ov., 1955; The Banks of Sullane, sym. essay, 1956; Nomos no.1 ‘Hercules dux Ferrariae’, 1957; Nomos no.4, pf, orch, 1957–8; Aspects of Irish Traditional Music, 1959; Seoladh na nGamhan [Herding the calves], sym. essay, 1959; Triptyque pour Orchestre, 1960; Nomos no.6, 1967
Other inst: 8 Short Preludes, pf, 1953; Nomos no.3, fl, vn, bn, 1962
Choral: 5 Epigrams from the Greek Anthology, SATB, fl, gui, 1958; The Lords and the Bards (R. Farren), solo vv, reciters, chorus, orch, 1959; Nomos no.2 (Sophocles, trans. E. Watling), Bar, chorus, orch, 1965 [from work for Bar, hpd, 1958]; Requiem for a Soldier, S, T, Bar, chorus, org, 1968
Solo vocal (1v, pf unless otherwise stated): 3 Poems by Thomas Kinsella, 1954; Nomos no.2, Bar, hpd, 1958; In Memoriam Aloys G. Fleischmann (F. Hölderlin), song cycle, 1964; Hill Field (J. Montague), 1965; Sekundezeiger (H. Arp), 1966; Lovers on Aran (S. Heaney), 1968; Mná na hÉireann (P. ó Doirnín), 1968; Serenade, Bar, fl, ob, bn, hn, side drum
Other works incl. many arrs. of Irish folk music, 2 masses, Requiem, incid scores for stage works produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, chamber, pf and hpd pieces
MSS in EIRE-C, National Symphony Orchestra Library
C.Acton: ‘Seán Ó Riada: the Next Phase’, Éire-Ireland [St Paul, MN], ii/4 (1967), 113–22
K.Fadlu-Deen: Contemporary Music in Ireland (diss., National U. of Ireland, Dublin, 1968)
C.Acton: ‘Interview with Seán Ó Riada’, Éire-Ireland [St Paul, MN], vi/1 (1970–71), 106–15
A.Fleischmann: ‘Seán Ó Riada’, Counterpoint, Nov (1971), 12–14
A.Fleischmann: ‘Seán Ó Riada’s Nomos II’, Éire-Ireland, vii/3 (1972), 108–15
E.Deale: A Catalogue of Contemporary Irish Composers (Dublin, 2/1973)
G.Victory: ‘The World of Ó Riada’, Written on the Wind: Personal Memories of Irish Radio 1926–76, ed. L. Redmond (Dublin, 1976), 153
B.Harris and G.Freyer, eds.: Integrating Tradition: the Achievement of Seán Ó Riada (Chester Springs, PA, 1981), [incl. L. Marcus: ‘Seán Ó Riada and the Ireland of the Sixties’, 16–27; ‘A Correspondence with Charles Acton’, 144–65]
T.Ó Canainn and G.Mac an Bhua [G. Victory]: Seán Ó Riada: a Shaol agus a Shaothar (Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 1993)
H.White: ‘Music and the Irish Literary Imagination’, Irish Musical Studies III: Music and Irish Cultural History, ed. G. Gillen and H. White (Dublin, 1995), 212–27
A.Klein: Die Musik Irlands im 20. Jahrhundert (Hildesheim, 1996)
H.White: The Keeper’s Recital: Music and Cultural History in Ireland 1770–1970 (Cork and Indiana, 1998)