“For me, the performance of IRELAND’S POET-PATRIOTS here in San Francisco was a very singular moment – a performance that was truly captivating and left an incredible sense of joy and meaning that evening. It was so enriching on a personal level for myself and, I think, for everybody that was lucky enough to be present.
It is a narrative, a musical storytelling and a reflection on an ongoing developing story and a question of “what is it that we identify with, what is it that is sacred about our past?” The performance was deeply touching, and fundamentally the centerpiece of what our community wanted to do and wanted to say around the very special events it was commemorating.
IRELAND’S POET-PATRIOTS is something extremely special and unique. It blends together traditional Irish airs, contemporary concert music, and a narrative that is based on the real past. What Richard and the performers set out to capture, and captured so well, was that blend of cultural experience – the ideals of Irish history and politics, of its literature, of its drama, its music, its arts, its narrative – to basically bring them together and animate them, and bring the audience in.
One of the most outstanding reactions to POET-PATRIOTS was the way that it reached out and touched every facet of our community here in the Bay Area – the Irish-born, the Irish-Americans, those who were close to their Irish roots and Irish history, and those perhaps who were not. It was very clear that what Richard was able to do and the performers brought forward was something universal, something that speaks not only of the Irish narrative and the Irish experience, but who we are and what we are – something that is fundamental to the human spirit.
We’re very keen to bring that moment we were all so lucky to share in Grace Cathedral that evening to share with our other communities and their friends and neighbors here in the United States, hopefully back in Ireland, and elsewhere in the world.”
“I am pleased to be associated with this beautiful concert programme that so honours our countrymen’s pursuit of nationhood. Richard Evans’ rich and melodic compositions deftly weave classical oratorio and our beloved Irish trad music around the inspired writings of some of Ireland’s great literary and historical figures. . . . [Evans’] sensitive understanding of the many elements – musical, literary, historical and cultural – represented in this grand concert work make for an experience to be treasured by both musicians and audiences alike. IRELAND’S POET-PATRIOTS. . . is a fitting and valuable contribution to our Centenary Commemoration of 1916, serving to engage and uplift, and is music that will endure long into the future.”
“It’s an honor to be working with a figure as valuable to American music as Richard B. Evans. His latest composition, the epic and masterful Ireland’s Poet-Patriots, is filled with evocative and lyrical writing that will appeal equally to classical music lovers as well as aficionados of traditional Irish music. Evans’ beautifully empathic and sensitive setting of the texts from Ireland’s leading poets creates a hauntingly unforgettable work that speaks to the heart and to humanity’s universal desire for freedom.”
“The project will be a substantial contribution to the 1916 celebrations and will reawaken the public consciousness and awareness of such a pivotal historical event, both here and in the United States.”
“. . . Furthermore, this project will create a lasting legacy. . . a greater understanding between the traditional and modern views of Ireland; and a new realization that difficult and complex subjects such as revolution and social change, and their relationship to culture, can be explored in depth and with insight.”