Alan Smale (violin), RTÉ NSO/Christopher Warren-Green


NCH, Dublin Fri 8pm €10-€35 01-4170000 CRASH ENSEMBLE Project Arts Centre, Dublin Fri 8pm €20 01-8819613 BÉAL FESTIVAL Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin Wed-Fri 9th, 01-6770014

Fintan O’Toole (Culture Shock, Oct 20th) is concerned that Irish theatre might go the way of classical music. He wouldn’t be grading music so negatively if he hadn’t fallen for some of the standard myths, specifically the one which assumes that orchestral music represents the mainstream in the 20th and 21st centuries the way it did in the 19th century (never mind the fact that he’s more than 50 years out on the mainstreaming of Mahler’s symphonies).

Here’s hoping he’ll take succour from the number of living composers whose work features in the concerts listed here this week. Carlos Suárez, Daniel Quaranta, Óscar Chaves, Jocy de Oliveira, Rodrigo Sigal, Bryan Holmes, Paulo Guicheney, Arvo Pärt, Frank Corcoran, Nico Muhly, Donnacha Dennehy, Kevin Volans, Glenn Branca, Eric Sweeney, John Kinsella, Dominick Argento, James MacMillan, Philip Glass, David Fennessy, Judith Ring, Mark OConnor, Robert Ashley, Christopher Fox, Bernadette Comac, Aodán McCardle, Gráinne Mulvey, Claire Fitch, Leuclade, Tom Johnson, Georges Aperghis, Eric Lyon, Cort Lippe, Jeff Herriott, Barry Moon, Javier Alvarez, and Daniel Alejandro Almada.

And there are classics, too, from Cage and Ligeti, two of those one-time avant-gardists that Fintan is so sniffy about. Filter the list and you’ll come up with a new Violin Concerto by Frank Corcoran, played by Alan Smale in Friday’s RTÉ NSO’s concert at the NCH under Christopher Warren-Green; new works from Kevin Volans (Looping point ) and Glenn Branca (Thought) from the Crash Ensemble at the Project Arts Centre the same evening; and, at Smock Alley (Wed and Thur), the opening two days of the Béal Festival, Elizabeth Hilliard and David Bremner’s celebration of poetry and music, which is “all about finding alternative ways of thinking and experiencing, building alternative combinations of words and music”.