No Go


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String Quartet and Uilleann Pipes
Duration: c. 10 mins
Note: This is a digital score and parts (PDF) and licences for all performers

SKU: SDM605 Category:


That was at the checkpoint. Meanwhile, the trail was beginning
       to leak and waft
Away, but the sniffer dogs persevered in their rendition
       of The Fox-Chase, lapping
And snuffling up the pepper-black Stardust fibrillating on
       the paper, till
The interview was thwarted by Aquarius, a blue line on the
       map that was
Contemporaneous with its past. Skirl girn a snaffle birdie
       girdle on the griddle howlin –
                                                        Ciaran Carson, from Bagpipe Music

These last, seemingly nonsense, words beat out the rhythm of a traditional Irish dance tune— one of the many ciphers in this poem written in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, which, as the poet Seamus Heaney lamented, was a ‘land of password, handgrip, wink and nod’. The Fox Chase is one of the few descriptive pieces in traditional Irish music. This series of tunes, linked by the eponymous narrative, is well known as a virtuoso show-piece for the uilleann pipes, and has been recorded by renowned players such as Seamus Ennis, Liam O’Flynn and Finbar Furey, among others. My work No Go—the title is the ringing refrain of Louis Macneice’s Bagpipe Music, to whom Carson was paying an homage—is my imagining of this new Fox Chase.

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