Gartan Mother's Lullaby

Program Notes:

First published in 1904, this beautiful lullaby from Gartan in County Donegal was collected by Herbert Hughes. Seosamh MacCathmhaoil added the lyrics. It refers to a number of figures in Irish mythology, places in Ireland and words in the Irish language, including Aoibheall, (pronounced like “evil”) the beautiful queen of the Northern Fairies and Leanbhan, an old Irish word for little child.

Conductor Notes:

We first read this a cappella arrangement for SSAA at one of our reading sessions and loved it immediately. Sarah has a great sense of voicing and tessitura, and the beautiful tension between the lines of this arrangement are well placed to resonate clearly and gently, in perfect keeping with the lullaby. The melody moves around the choir – always appreciated by the altos. I programmed it in a Christmas concert simply because I wanted to share it with the audience, but it isn’t a Christmas piece.


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