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Song of Lir

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Fergal Carroll

Fergal Carroll

General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 6:05
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Maecenas Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - £55.00   |   Score Only (print) - £17.95


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Mark Tree
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Song of Lir suggests an Irish lament, or caoine, and much of the material is derived from a 17th century Irish harping tune, Captain O'Kane. The work was commissioned by Tim and Hillary Reynish in memory of their son William.

- Program Note by publisher

According to legend, Lir himself was a king in the western part of Ireland in the time of the Celts. He had four beautiful children, a daughter and three sons. When their mother died, he married again, but his new wife was evil and jealous, and cursed the children of Lir, changing them into swans. They lived for 900 years as swans, until they heard the sound of the first Christian bell coming from a monastery newly built beside their lake. At the sound of the bell, the curse was lifted and they were restored to human form, but were now ancient, frail people. A monk baptized them, whereupon they were able to die in peace.

- Program Note from Penn State University Concert Band concert program, 10 December 2015

Ler (meaning "Sea" in Old Irish; Lir is the genitive form) is a sea god in Irish mythology. His name suggests that he is a personification of the sea, rather than a distinct deity. He is named Allód in early genealogies, and corresponds to the Llŷr of Welsh mythology. Ler is chiefly an ancestor figure, and is the father of the god Manannán mac Lir, who appears frequently in medieval Irish literature. Ler appears as the titular king in the tale The Children of Lir.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Brock, Gordon R. "Song of Lir for Symphonic Wind Band." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 6, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 416-422. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2007.
  • Carroll, F. [2004]. Song of Lir: For Symphonic Wind Band [score]. Maecenas Music: Kenley, UK.
  • Ler (Mythology), Wikipedia