The first recording of Donnacha Dennehy‘s The Hunger—performed by Alarm Will Sound led by Alan Pierson, soprano Katherine Manley, and sean nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird—will be released on Nonesuch Records this Friday. Ahead of its release, Alarm Will Sound has shared a short film in which the composer and performers tell the story behind the piece. The Hunger explores Ireland’s Great Famine through first-hand accounts by American humanitarian Asenath Nicholson. You can watch the short film, made by Four/Ten Media, below.
“The way the music ebbs and flows and surges forward and shifts through harmonic spaces is really gorgeous and it’s unique to Donnacha’s music,” says Alarm Will Sound conductor and artistic director Alan Pierson.
“When I think of this piece, it’s not just really about the Irish Famine. It’s about any kind of unfolding catastrophe that’s complicated by political ideas of ‘the other,'” says Dennehy. “This happens throughout the world still to this day. We don’t have to look very hard for parallels, I’m afraid.”