Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Thesis submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy, to Technological University Dublin, 2018.


The accompanying portfolio contains eight major works for disparate forces: Brú na Sídhe is a work for Large Orchestra; Bog Bodies is a work commissioned for a heterogenous Quintet; Gáeth Ard Úar is a work written for a Solo Bass/Contrabass Clarinet in B-flat; a Piano Trio, SzyzygyS, follows; a work entitled Blackwater is written for Solo Guitar; a diptych, named Sigil, written for a Dectet of Harp and Vibraphone with double String Quartet, follows; then, O Unworn World for a ten part Choral ensemble is presented as a meditation on a poem by Patrick Kavanagh; and, the last of the works in the portfolio, is a String Quartet entitled Wodwo. These pieces are conceived using an aesthetic guide provided by two substantially different composers: Tōru Takemitsu and Olivier Messiaen. The connection with these composers is explored in a chapter entitled the Aesthetic Review, Chapter One; and, indeed, throughout the commentaries provided in the subsequent chapters dealing with each of the works in the order stated. It is noted that, while these composers provide a guide to the formulation and execution, and even the subject matter, of ideas in music, it is not the case that the music will sound in any way similar to either of these composers. The divergent techniques of composition described within are substantiated with reference to these composers, and fall into three broadly defined categories: the Constructivist, the Impressionist, and the Deductivist approaches to style. The works also contain a similar approach to the subject matter of the inspiration. A thread of Pagan Spirituality and Mythology can be traced through all of the works, to varying degrees. They contain, in addition, a preponderance on duality as a concept; the duality of Science and Natural Spirituality; the duality of defined and undefined sounds; and the duality of composer and performer. With these works, the composer wishes to demonstrate a mastery of compositional techniques and a thorough and methodical approach to the realisation of a conceptual framework.