A renowned Irish born composer of great distinction and reputation, Patrick Cassidy came into prominence with the release of the Children of Lir, (the setting of the great Legend) the first major symphonic work written in the Irish language. Recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra and Choir, it remained at Number One in the Irish Classical Charts for over a year.
Studying piano and harp from an early age, Patrick developed a singular style of composition, involving lush melodies and layered orchestration.
- END TITLES (ET): Mr. Cassidy, we are specially grateful for your immediate disposition to talk a little bit about yourself. In End Titles we love Art, and even we practice it, and we are aware of the special and deep vital conception of artists. We would like you to talk briefly about how a genius of music like Patrick Cassidy conceives the man´s existence. Your intense relationship with Maths and the deep spirituallity of your compositions create a really explosive mix. How does everything fit?
- PATRICK CASSIDY (PC): Thank you for your kind words. I love music and consider myself to be very fortunate in what I do with my life. I did study mathematics at University mainly because my father felt it was important to have something to fall back on. I do not regret it.
I suppose my music is quite spiritual and I have written a lot of liturgical and semi-liturgical pieces like 'Famine Remembrance' and The 'Children of Lir'. Maybe that was the reason John Michael McDonagh chose me to score his film 'Calvary'.
- ET: Could you talk to us about the music you would buy and listen at home? About the classical and modern music that you like, and if you follow specially any kind of art such as Painting, Sculpture, etc?
- PC: I love classical music. My favourite composer is Bach but I also love Handel and Mozart. Of the 20th century composers I am very influenced by Elgar. Also the Russian composers.
Growing up in Ireland all the members of my family played music, both Classical and Irish traditional. One of my aunties was a very good painter as was one of my sisters. I had no talent in this area. But I do love all art; painting, sculptor and literature. I also enjoy reading history books when I take a break from work.
- ET: In End Titles we would like to seize the opportunity to ask you for your opinion about present Film Music, completely opposite to yours and based on technology and commercial results. What is your opinion on this regard?
- PC: I now live in Los Angeles and this is the hub of film music. Very talented people come here from all over the world. So I do admire my fellow composers whatever their niche. I myself have a very classical approach. But in film music we are expected to be versatile and competent to compose in many styles.
I do think that film music has become a little generic in recent times. But I also think there can be opportunities to break with this trend. Thankfully people are always looking for something new and different.
- ET: We are releasing your words along with a review of your latest score for movies, ‘Calvary’, a gem that, according to our opinion, should have been awarded all kinds of international prizes. How was your participation in this film? Could you tell us about your relationship with director J.M. McDonagh as far as the music you composed is concerned, or any anecdote about the process?
- PC: Thank you so much, I am very proud of this film. An exceptional script and powerful performances from the great cast of actors. I liked working with John Michael. He was quite hands off but also very adamant about what he wanted. A difficult balance! There was a great atmosphere in post production. Everyone wanted to give their very best because we all loved the movie.
The movie itself is about the great social upheaval in Ireland and we see this through the eyes of a Catholic priest. I remember Pope Francis was actually elected while we were working in post production. We all wondered how the Church would react to the film. I feel it is a deeply spiritual movie and full of thought provoking allegory. The reaction from the public and critics, and amazingly the Church, was astonishing and beyond my expectations.
- ET: End Titles loves Classical Music. Your education about it is laudable and your influences are obvious, getting close to clasicism in a wonderful way. Could you tell us about your classical likings, authors that you consider most importants in Music history, or essential works?
- PC: I already touched briefly on this subject. I am most influenced by the great choral liturgical music of the Baroque and Classical periods. Bach's Cantatas are, in my opinion, the closest thing to perfection.
I recently composed a setting of the Latin Mass and as part of the process found myself studying the great Masses - Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Mozart's Mass in C Minor and of course Bach's Mass in B Minor. For me these are essential works.
- ET: You have several and always outstanding collaborations with great Lisa Gerrard. The quality that you both together achieve is essential for any follower of Art, and this is something really difficult as you are both highest-level composers. Could you tell us about this collaboration? What are Patrick Cassidy and Lisa Gerrard working together like?
- PC: I travelled to Australia to work on an album, which became 'Immortal Memory', with Lisa. I spent 3 months there initially, living with her family; and later a return trip to finish the album. It was very rewarding. Lisa has an amazing and unique talent. We tried to explore some unfamiliar territory. For instance on one of the pieces Lisa sings in Gaelic.
It has been quite a while since I last worked with Lisa. Maybe we will do something together in the future. We are great friends.
- ET: Finally, could you tell us and all the lovers of your music in End Titles, what your next projects in mind are?
- PC: I have just finished scoring '1916 The Irish Rebellion'. It is a documentary coinciding with the centenary of the rebellion that led to Irish Independence. It is narrated by Liam Neeson. The premiere will be at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on 16th March with a live orchestra and Liam Neeson also narrating live. The soundtrack will be release in the new year.
I have also finished writing a new opera titled 'Dante'. The opera relates the story of the great poets life. We are planning a premiere for 2017.
- ET: Thank you so much for responding to us so kindly. It’s a real pleasure for us to talk with a genius of present Music such as Patrick Cassidy.
- PC: And thank you. It has been a pleasure.
END TITLES. DECEMBER. 2015.