Programme notes for Skellig
This piece was originally commissioned by the McDonagh Sisters as the title track for their album of the same name. Orla asked Ailbhe to compose a piece which reflected the McDonagh Sisters’ relationship and their journey through life as sisters and chamber musicians together. The piece is atmospheric, powerful and intense – all of the emotions portrayed by the iconic Skellig Islands off the west coast of Ireland after which it is named. The Atlantic Ocean has been a persuasive influence in the lives of both sisters and the intensity of its power is emoted here. Several instrumentations of Skellig have been requested since its composition. The version for Piano Trio was composed for the Belisama Trio for a performance at the ‘Music for Wexford’ Festival in Ireland this year. Skellig is dedicated to Orla McDonagh.