Anachronos is a new ensemble devoted to exploring ancient music from a modern perspective. The ensemble features some of Ireland's foremost exponents of medieval music, contemporary classical, traditional and jazz. Anachronos’ reconstructions and virtuosic interpretations of rare and previously unknown works create a thrilling new interplay between the music of the past and today.
Anakronos - The Red Book of Ossory
In 1317 Richard de Ledrede arrived in Kilkenny as the new Bishop of Ossory and immediately set about challenging the secular authorities and making a name for himself as a zealous moraliser and "scourge of heresy". He was responsible for the famous witchcraft trial of Dame Alice Kyteler, composed a fantastical, nightmarish list of charges against her and others, and caused the first person ever, Dame Alice’s servant Petronilla de Meath, to be burned at the stake for the heresy of witchcraft.
Ledrede was also the author of 60 Latin poems which he intended to be sung by the priests and choristers of St. Canice's Cathedral so that their throats would not be "polluted" by secular lyrics. These poems are collected in a medieval manuscript known as The Red Book of Ossory. Despite Ledrede’s famed brutality his poems are spiritually rich and original and display a high-level of literary and artistic brilliance.
As Ledrede himself encouraged the performer to engage in the creative process (“since they are trained singers, let them provide themselves with suitable tunes according to what these sets of words require”) Caitríona O’Leary drew from a wide variety of medieval music sources to put together a programme of 20 songs. Anakronos members then engaged in a lengthy exploratory rehearsal period, and by combining medieval and contemporary performance practices created a new musical work that was enthusiastically received by the audience at its premiere in the National Concert Hall, Dublin.
The Red Book of Ossory introduces audiences to a little-known, yet historically significant, body of medieval Irish literary work and is a brand new, imaginative and ambitious musical work that brings together 14th century Irish texts, medieval music and jazz and contemporary performance practices that will appeal to audiences across a wide spectrum. This is the first time in centuries - perhaps ever - that this work is brought before the public.