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Donnacha Dennehy

Publisher: G. Schirmer

The weather of it (2016)
G Schirmer Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
String Quartet
Year Composed
16 Minutes
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Programme Note
Donnacha Dennehy The weather of it (2016)
Composer note:
Every writer I know seems to aspire to the wordlessness of music. My friend and collaborator, the wonderful writer Enda Walsh, talks jealously of music all the time. Admiringly, he quotes Sarah Kane who when once asked about a new play said that she had not written a word of it but could "hum it." Tiring of questions about narrative meaning, when we were rehearsing an opera for which he wrote the libretto, Enda asked instead that people concentrate on "the weather of it."

Funnily enough, ideas of weather do often concretely influence the way I juxtapose and shift material. Maybe it’s got to do with originally coming from Ireland where the weather can shift from heavy to light in an instant. I often think of material condensing and evaporating. Technically too the music shifts between equal temperament and material based on the overtone series. Pulsating glissandos accomplish this in a gradual way; in other places it happens abruptly, like a jump cut in cinema.

Gradually the separate strands in this piece combine and start to condense into a very dense driven section before they fracture and gently evaporate — this idea of evaporation is what drove me in my approach to this piece.

Co-commissioned by The Radcliffe Trust, NMC Recordings, Carnegie Hall, and by Wigmore Hall, with the support of André Hoffmann, president of the Fondation Hoffmann, a Swiss grant-making foundation, The weather of it is dedicated to Enda Walsh.

— Donnacha Dennehy, June 2016.

  • Ensemble
    Doric String Quartet
    NMC Recordings:
  • Ensemble
    Doric String Quartet (Dennehy); JACK Quartet (Holt)
    NMC Recordings:
The 'weather' proves that of a minimalist climate, but the way in which he was able to contrive, against a norm of pulsation and rhythmic repetition, continuous change of emphasis, and to insinuate strange, bright melodies or half-melodies into the texture, like gleams of sun, was fascinating.
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times [UK],24/07/2016
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