Now available for the first time, the entire score of Mise Eire by Seán Ó Riada. Gael-Linn is delighted to announce that April 12th (2006) sees the release of the full score of Mise Eire, by Seán Ó Riada. Up to now, only 15 minutes of the soundtrack has ever been made available. The new CD includes the full score, over 40 minutes, which has been digitally re-mastered from the original archive tapes.
Ó Riada was commissioned by Gael-Linn to write the score for its feature-length film Mise Eire (1959), directed by George Morrisson. The film uses newsreel and contemporary photographs to tell the story of events surrounding the Easter Rising of 1916. Ó Riada's inspired musical score brought the images to life and instilled them with emotion. It also ensured that what might have otherwise been a minority-interest documentary became, in fact, one of the most widely-acclaimed and appreciated events in Irish film history; the film itself will shortly be re-released on DVD. Recording of the music for Mise Eire took place at the Phoenix Hall, Dublin, on May 19th 1959, with Ó Riada conducting the Radio Eireann Symphony Orchestra, leader Arthur Nachstern. Musically, Mise Eire is most interesting. Ó Riada draws heavily from the Irish tradition with songs such as Róisín Dubh, Boolavogue and Sliabh na mBan. However, the film refers to many aspects of the historical context and music reflects this.
Listeners will hear pieces as varied as the labour anthem (1913 lock-out), the Eton Boat Song (Viceroy Aberdeen at the Horse Show) and Tipperary (conscription). Ó Riada also experimented and several pieces have a distinctly modernist feel (Pearse's surrender). One of the most significant tracks on the album, Tomás Aghas: Sochraid (funeral of Thomas Ashe, who died in 1917 while on hunger strike in Mountjoy Prison. Mahatma Gandhi was reported to have been influenced by this) has never been released before and is evidence of Ó Riada's ability to speak sensitively to the heart, without sentimentality. It is one of those pieces of music which, once heard, will never be forgotten. The title track, Mise Eire, instills a tremendous feeling of national pride and is one of the world's most recognised pieces of Irish music. Mise Eire is one of the most important pieces of Irish music of the twentieth century.