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My original setting of the poem Na Blatha Craige ('The Cliff Flowers') by Liam O Flaitheartaigh was commissioned by the Cois Cladaigh Chamber Choir in Galway, Ireland. The choir had performed several works of mine in the early 1990's and they invited me to visit in December 1994 for a major concert of my music. For the concert a new work was also requested. The original version was more elaborate a setting than was expected, as was (I suspect) a revised score made in 1997. In 2005, having set the 'Our Father' text in Irish ('Ar nAthair') for the NUIG Choral Society at the university in Galway, I decided to return to this poem and make an entirely new setting of it. The poem is descriptive of the Aran Islands to the west of Galway. The poet is speaking to the cliff flowers, remarking on the inhospitable place they have found for themselves. The first section begins with the poet addressing the flowers: 'What a miserable place you found to ramble in...' while the second section is the flowers' answer. The harmonically static conclusion sets the words '..the music of the sea has us under a spell.' On my last day in Galway in 1994 I was fortunate to be able to travel to the Aran Islands to see first-hand the bleak and rocky landscape described in the poem. This setting of Na Blatha Craige is dedicated to Brendan O'Connor, the conductor of Cois Cladaigh Chamber Choir.
Dedicated to Brendan O'Connor
Text by Liam O Flaitheartaigh