Elaine Agnew


Type of Work: Vocal/Choral
Instrumentation: Unaccompanied choir
Length: 6 minutes
Text: Pat Boran
Commissioned by: RTÉ lyric fm
Premiere: 30 September 2004, National Gallery, Dublin.
National Chamber Choir,
conductor Celso Antunes
Recording: National Chamber Choir, Contemporary Music from Ireland Volume 5 (CD05)


Bread is a RTÉ lyric fm co-commission involving the pairing of a composer and a poet as a way of reflecting the mix of music and words associated with the Quiet Quartet radio essay series on Lyric Notes.

The idea for Bread came from thinking about the way Ireland has changed in recent years. A simple thing like bread, common to almost all cultures, when one thinks about all its different types the world over, offers a way to mark and celebrate a new diversity on the island. The poem consists of two parts, the first listing the names for all the different types of bread, reminding us of other cultures, and off difference, but also serving to celebrate a common and often sacred coming-together of people. Here I rhythmically play with spoken and sung sounds, often in unison, to stress these colourful names.

The second part reflects the baking of bread within the Irish family 'the beating, the kneading, the rolling, the baking of bread' are, at once, magical and very ordinary, necessary acts


Performed by:
National Chamber Choir