Oisin in Tir na n’Og is from the Feinian Cycle of Irish mythology, dating from approximately 300 years after the birth of Christ. Oisin was both a member of the Fianna (the warrior protectors of the High King of Ireland) and a master harper. The story follows his sojourn in Tir na n’Og — the magical land of the “ever young” — and his return.
I thank my friend, Una McGillicuddy, for introducing me to this profound story, and for the major part of the text we used. She and I recorded a CD version in 2012.
Both time and the perspectives it brings have inspired further refinements to the initial setting. In this video, I welcome actress Hannah Sloat as my collaborator and storyteller. Freedom Variations is a full length brass quintet, based on the spiritual “Oh, Freedom.” This recording/video was made in the fall of 2021 by the “Backyard Brass” (Rich Clymer and Ken Tedeschi, trumpets, Pete Reit, French horn, Nate Reit, trombone, and Marcus Rojas, tuba), and posted to YouTube on Jan. 15th 2022, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Music of the Suffragettes came about in response to a request from David Osborn of St. Paul’s National Historic Site. It features harp arrangements of music of the Suffragettes and was presented at St. Paul’s in May of 2021, as part of their program honoring the Suffrage movement. A Portrait of Milton Phibbs: Milton was a supremely talented horn player and composer. As composer-in-residence at the Kendall-Betts horn camp, he wrote pieces for the faculty that displayed his eccentric style and quirky sense of humor, many of which were presented in New York by a free-lance group of horn players, “Phibbs and Phriends.” This tribute and portrait is the result of a commission following his sudden death in 2019, and features many of the “Phibbs and Phriends” performers. The first movement is a nod to the “tipsy” aspect of his character. Milton was a WWI buff, and the second movement—a setting of the WWI song “When The Boys Come Home”—honors that passion of his. The final movement is my response to his wild and wonderful music.