Two uncovered Ó Riada pieces recorded

Two previously unpublished works by the composer Seán Ó Riada have been recorded for the first time on a CD to be released today.

A waltz, hand-written by Ó Riada and dating from the early to mid-1950s, was discovered earlier this year inside an old music book.

The second piece is a march, the first half composed by Ó Riada and the latter half by fiddle player John Kelly, a member ofÓ Riada’s traditional group Ceoltóirí Chualann.

The two pieces are among those on a new CD, A Few Tunes for Our Friends, which was recorded last month in Cúil Aodha, Co Cork, byÓ Riada’s eldest son Peadar, along with Kelly’s son John Jnr, and fellow fiddle player Éamon McGivney.

It was John Kelly Jnr who discovered what has now been named The SeánÓ Riada Waltz on a piece of manuscript given to his father by Seán Ó Riada. The manuscript had been kept, appropriately, in an old copy of O’Neill’s 1001 Gems of Irish Music belonging to John Kelly Snr, who had added the title Composed by John Reidy.

This dates the piece as being from the mid-50s at the latest, since by that time Cork-born John Reidy had adopted the Irish version of his name, Seán Ó Riada.

The Kelly-Ó Riada March is a piece which John Kelly Jnr remembers as being in his father’s repertoire but is not thought to have previously been recorded.

Ó Riada went on to compose the score for the film Mise Éire, two masses and a body of classical works, as well as forming the choir Cór Chúil Aodha in his adopted home village in Cork’s Múscraí Gaeltacht.

The new CD was recorded over the course of three days at the house bought by Ó Riada and still home to his son Peadar and his family in Cúil Aodha.

It features Peadar Ó Riada on concertina and McGivney and Kelly on fiddle — who have for this CD, become humorously known as The Drôle

“The three of us are getting a bit long in the tooth and I’ve been on a few CDs but I haven’t seen the other two on very many, so we talked about recording something,” Peadar said.

“We just sat down and recorded it without any fuss or hassle; no pretentions, no learning tunes or working on them — it was very, very simple.”

The album will be launched on Monday in Milltown Malbay at the Willie Clancy Summer School, of which McGivney is a director.


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