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Ruth Lee Martin Carmina Gadelica (Ortha nan Gaidheal) (1999)
2 S 2 M-S
Commissioned by: ArtsACT and Prof. Graham Hair for the Sydney based group Voiceworks.
First performed by: Voiceworks
First performed at: Llewellyn Hall, Canberra, Australia
Notes: The Fairy - Mackintosh's Lament - The Sun - The Vixen - Good Wish.
'Carmina Gadelica' is a setting of five poems taken from Alexander Carmichael's collection of Gaelic hymns and incantations gathered in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the nineteenth century. The verse juxtaposes vivid images and sentiments from an earlier 'pagan' spirituality with Christian imagery in a way that to modern sensibilities seems at times strange, and even contradictory. The Vixen is a wonderful example of this - it is both a prayer and a curse at the same time. Hail to the Sun and Good Wish are incantations that reflect a spirituality based upon nature, and where every action requires a charm or chant to keep away harm. The Fairy draws on Celtic mythology which is peopled by strange creatures such as fairies (not usually very nice), selkies, water-kelpies, and the like. The collection of works is semi-liturgical in style, (reflected in the setting of the music), illustrating the deep spirituality of a remarkable culture in transition.