The Irish word Boireann means ‘a stony place’ and the stony contours, colours and textures of the Burren region of north Clare provide the immediate inspiration for the piece. The barren appearance of the landscape conceals a wealth of delicate and beautiful flora, unique to the region.
The piece is characterised by craggy and irregular outlines, together with a misty and blurred lyricism. Formally, the work falls into the following sections, played without a break:
After three introductory chords the music gradually increases in intensity and activity. Solo flute and piano statements.
A blurred and hazy mood prevails, the flute melody making use of quarter tones.
Solo flute echoes and transforms the flute passage in 2.
A section of gradually increasing density recalls the opening of the work but with a greater concentration and urgency.
Boireann was commissioned by Mid-West Arts (Ireland) and first performed at the Dublin Festival of Twentieth Century Music in 1984 by Madelaine Berkeley and Jane O Leary.
William Dowdall (flute)
Gillian Smith (piano)