independent

Sunday 20 October 2019

Classic music fan Noel composes new book

Author Noel Culleton with Erin Wilson and Josie Van Emden outside the Book Centre on Wexford’s South Main Street
Author Noel Culleton with Erin Wilson and Josie Van Emden outside the Book Centre on Wexford’s South Main Street
Wexford illustrator David Mahon

Maria Pepper

The television personality, journalist and Ferns native Anne Doyle will launch a new book on classical music by Noel Culleton at Wexford Town Library on Thursday October 10 at 7pm.

The 210-page illustrated book titled Classical Connections and sub-titled 50 Fateful Encounters that Shaped the world of Music, is illustrated by David Mahon, also from Wexford, an architect who works off Fiji Island.

It is a sequel to Culleton's first book They Made Great Music -The Literary Inspiration for 33 Literary Giants of Music, also illustrated by Mahon, and published a year ago.

Classical Connections tells the stories of 50 of the world's top composers from the past 250 years, most of whom struggled against great odds to survive. All had one common experience -they had fateful encounters with people who helped them follow their dreams.

'The heart-felt human stories of the composers in this book are compelling and inspirational. They are representative of many composers in the world of music and opera who survived and achieved fame', said Noel.

'One of my objectives was to inspire people with the stories of their fascinating lives and the wonderful riches that composers and musicians have given us.

'Another is to make them accessible to everyone, whether student or professional or a passive reader who just wants to know more. Some lived a few hundred years ago, but their marvellous music continues to engage us'.

Among the more prominent composers featured in the book are John Field born in Dublin, George Frideric Handel whose Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and Harriet Smithson a native of Ennis whom Hector Berlioz inundated with love letters which she completely ignored. He wept, ranted and raved to his friends and even threatened suicide if she didn't reciprocate his love.

Dr Culleton has had a life-long interest in composers and classical music alongside his career as a scientist and later chief executive of the agricultural research centre in Johnstown Castle.

The book has colour caricatures of the composers by David Mahon, a Masters of Architecture graduate of UCD and an established illustrator who works in the US, Africa, New Zealand and Fiji. Published by Three Sisters Press, it is available in bookshops nationwide and www.books.ie.

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