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

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cathedral Christmas Choral Endeavours

The rising of the sun and the running of the deer
              The playing of the merry organ, Sweet singing in the choir

 Cathedral Choir October 2011 Presentation of award to member Anna Monahan
Christmas Vigil 2011 
Duo      Hush be Still                 Austrian Carol
             In a Manger                   Polish Carol
             Lo How a Rose               Praetorius
Choir  Silent Night,                   Gruber
            The Holy  City                 Weatherly /Stepehen Adams   soloist Tony Murray
            Carol of the Bells            Leontovich 
Duo    Ave Maria                     Caccini
           Don Oiche Ud i mBeithil  trad

Gathering Hymn  Adeste Fidelis
                               Away in a Manger         Andrea
                                Once In Royal David's City Duo +organ 
                                Mass parts Joncas, Lecot, Deiss, O' Carroll
                                Psalm: Tonight a Saviour has been born to us Ronan McDonagh cantor Helen Minogue
                                Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring Duo
                                Oh Holy Night    Cappeau/Adolphe Adam
                                 For Unto Us A Child is Born  Handel
                                 Hark the Herald

Cathedral delegation at ClareFM studio 23rd Dec

Quavers and semiquavers Helen, Gertrude

Christmas is inevitably a busy time for church choristers.  The Ennis Cathedral Choir has been associated with liturgy in St Peter and Paul's Cathedral for over a century beginning under the direction of Belgian musician, Charles, 'Mons' Nono who arrived in Ennis in 1859  and today is a 40 strong adult mixed voice choir, roughly of the proportions of 3:1 women to men. The choir is currently directed by Michael Hennessy with Leon Walsh as principal organist. The growth of the choir continued under the direction of Ernest de Regge who came to Ireland from Belgium after World War 1 and was choir director for about 35 years until his death in tragic circumstances in 1958 . The cathedral choir is a  welcoming ensemble for liturgically inclined  singers and musicians and  members are drawn from a range of nationalities, including French, German, Slovakian and Chilean .

Michael Grogan

I joined a delegation from Ennis Cathedral at  ClareFM studios to talk about the choir's seasonal  liturgical activities to John Cooke of Morning Focus the station's flagship current affairs magazine programme. My favourite moment in the interviews(links below) was  hearing Michael Cullinan talk about his experience of being in the choir from  the age of 9 years under Ernest de Regge.  No doubt, he could fill a whole programme with the changes within the cathedral milieu alone  that he has seen in the five decades  since.  Following the broadcast the delegation adjourned to the Food Emporium where we enjoyed coffee and buns compliments of  our host and gave an impromptu recital of seasonal repertoire. We were joined by Michael Grogan from Scariff who played some tunes on my viola. It was all -well very Christmassy with whatever inhibitions we might have had suspended by the buzz of goodwill and the oxygen of publicity following our radio encounter.
Coffee time carols at the Food Emporium

Interview Ennis Cathedral Choir on Clare FM 1/3 (mp3)
 Morning Focus studio secs to airtime
Ennis Cathedral Choir on Clare FM 23/12/11 2/3 (mp3)

Ennis Cathedral Choir perform on Clare FM 3/3 (mp3)

Gallery  Quartet: Roisin, Me, Michael, Leon

On Christmas Eve, I was joined in the gallery by violinist Roisin McMullin to play some duet arrangements of a carol selection as a prelude to the choral aspects of the evening vigil Mass .  With the invited guest soloist  indisposed, tenor Tony Murray stepped in to sing the solo parts of the traditional choral favourites. The Holy City is a great sing for the choir, the melody composed by Stephen Adams to words by Frederic Weatherly, best known for the  lyrics of the WW1 sentimental ballad, Roses of Pickardy.  Coincidentally, I note that  his near namesake Frenchman,  Adolphe Adam, wrote the melody for another big item on the programme, Cantique de Noel aka Oh Holy Night , a perennial favourite in Clare and the world over .

Tremendous Tenors Sean Ruane, and Tony Murray 

St Peter and Paul's Cathedral is a very elegant ecclesiastical space at any time but illuminated by candlelight and  adorned with the the symbols of Advent and Christmastide, it is a beautiful  seductive interior for all  to gather and encounter the concepts of friendship, community, gratitude and transcendence through the rituals of  liturgy and choral singing.

Clare Noel Canticles  For more on Clare's Oh Holy Nights

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