Detailed Program Notes for “Currents 2019”: Give Us the Night – Amanda Feery

Published June 26, 2019 by Third Coast Percussion      |      Share this post!

Amanda Feery is an Irish composer working with acoustic, electronic, and improvised music. Much of her inspiration comes from literature, folklore, and the natural world. Collaborators include Alarm Will Sound, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Amatis Trio, Crash Ensemble, Ensemble Mise-en, Bearthoven, RTÉ ConTempo Quartet, Chamber Choir Ireland, Mivos Quartet, Dither, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Orkest de Eriprijs, This is How We Fly, Lisa Moore, Michelle O’Rourke, and Paul Roe. Future projects include works for flautist Lina Andonovska, {Trés}, and a collaboration with Irish filmmaker Tadhg O’Sullivan, on a cinematic ode to the moon. She recently completed her doctorate at Princeton University, and now resides in Dublin.

Give Us the Night was written for Third Coast Percussion’s Emerging Composers Partnership program. So far, Amanda has traveled the farthest to take part in our partnership, coming all the way from Dublin to workshop ideas with us in our Chicago studio.  Here we are having way too much fun picking out small quirky sounds for what would eventually become Peter’s part:

When Amanda first shared some of the ideas for her piece that she wanted to try out with us, she described the experience of walking down a street at night and hearing the muted music of a party going on inside a house or a bar in the distance.  Suddenly, the door swings open as someone enters or exits and you get a brief window into the musical world that otherwise seemed veiled and impenetrable.  We experimented with all sorts of things to try to achieve this effect, including covering drums with towels and then suddenly removing them to change from a muted sound to something more present.

Amanda’s thoughts on the work:

“I imagined Give Us The Night as a short film. We come upon the exterior of an abandoned space where faint remnants of disco patterns begin to filter through. Muddy kicks and corroded bells covered in webs eventually come into focus, and it is revealed that this supposedly abandoned space is teeming with revellers. The inspiration for the piece comes from exploring abandoned nightclub spaces on a U.S. road-trip. I was fascinated by the atmosphere of these spaces. They go beyond existing as a physical space; their walls have stories to tell.

“The piece particularly explores patterns, timbres, and harmonies from early house music, a style that has its origins in Chicago and Detroit. What interests me most about these now defunct spaces, is that they were some of the most inclusive, non-segregated, LGBTQ+-friendly spaces in the U.S. We are losing this in our current underground night-spaces—losing ways of listening and moving, losing a feeling of community in order for these spaces to be replaced by coffee chains, unaffordable apartments, and luxury hotels.”

Special thanks to Culture Ireland for their generous support of this project!