Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, July 18, 2010

La Jolla Chamber Chorus from San Diego at Glór

Opportunities to hear top notch choral singing in Ennis aren't that frequent despite the town's healthy choral scene. Last Saturday afternoon's programme offered by the La Jolla Chamber Chorus from San Diego will surely rank as one of the musical highlights of this year's musical calendar. The choir, which was over 50 strong, performed for free to the audience that assembled in Glór.

The programme was full of delights and all the better for not being at all familiar. The programme opened with a collection of sacred works. An Ave Verum by Byrd was followed by a setting of a religious poem by a contemporary American composer Marvin. An Ave Maria by Rachmaninov showed the strengths of the magnificent bass section and seemed to strike a chord with the audience . A beautiful Mass setting by French composer Caplet closed the sacred component of the first half.

A trio of settings of Irish poems by American poets followed and the choir were joined by violin virtuoso Lauren Mindoro in an obligado part in 'I saw a Stranger Yestere'en' by Jacob Avshalomov which was reminiscent of Vaughan William's Lark Ascending. The choir sang with real feeling for the words particulary in the exuberance of Barbers' setting of Mary Hynes.

A charming collection of Folksongs and Spirituals made up the second half, the most compelling of which were the Yiddish immigrant songs and featured many of the fine solo voices of the choir all delivered with a rumbustious relish.

The pieces were introduced with great charm by director, David Chase who had a warm and engaging presence on the podium.

The choir offered a pairing of folksongs for an encore;'I know my Love' and a beautiful setting of american standard 'Shenandoah' brought a splendid afternoon to a close. Local musician Cathy Desmond played The Coolin, an air which had had resonance with one of the settings of the Irish poems the choir performed. The choir is also appearing in Galway, Cork and as on their tour. A collection was taken up in aid of Carigoran House.

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