Notes from the arranger
The Valentia Suite is a loving and nostalgic tribute to the beautiful hidden gem Valentia Island, in County Kerry. I have been there almost every summer since I was born with family and extended family, so every place on the island is soaked in memory. This is a very personal piece, with each movement focusing on a specific place or event, and the music tries to express the recalled moods and characters these evoke.
A communally owned property with a bit of a run down, ‘rough around the edges’ charm, is where all the families congregate each July and August for a long and often blissful summer of laughter and average food. The ‘back garden’ is actually a wild, unkept field, which, when you climb over the wall at the end, leads to another field and then over the rocks to the sea (where the sun sets perfectly on the horizon), with a distant view of the Lighthouse. I have fond childhood memories of us gathering kids together from all over the island to come and play night-time Hide and Seek (with torches – we called it ‘Centurian’) in the fields behind the house. I remember hiding up on the roof once and looking out over the dark field, seeing the periodic flash of the lighthouse about a mile away across the island, and hearing the distant crashing of waves.