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

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekend Roundup from Rain Sodden South East

Finghin Collins
Christchurch Cathedral 

It was a weekend of grey skies and  floods threatened to submerge the island. On Saturday evening, amid the  shuffle of falling raindrops, the elegant 18th century interior space of Christchurch Cathedral resounded with the Latin American rhythms of beguines, tangos and two steps and  blue notes of jazz, (A preview of the evening here). While red shirted rugby fans mulled ruefully over sporting events in The Munster Bar,  Finghin Collins gave a bravura rendition of the solo piano part of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Waterford Concert Orchestra under conductor Kevin O Carroll . At the close of the first half, audience and orchestra members  rose to their feet to applaud the virtuoso pianist.  I have to declare an interest,  as a member of the string section.  Clarinetist, Stephen Mackey shimmered in the opening opening of the emblematic work. The huge brass and wind section showed they were well able to swing it in arrangements by Bernstein, Cole Porter. Trumpet player Mitch Cuss sparkled in an homage to  'Satchmo' .  Sinead O Carroll also featured as piano soloist in the opening work Danzon by Mexican composer, Marquez. Inclement weather didn't deter patrons and in many years of attending events here, I can't remember seeing it as full as it was last night with a capacity house adding to the sense of a gala occasion. I can report that both soloist and conductor wore summer white jackets. There  was a very sociable buzz with much meeting and greeting during the generous interval. Among the patrons, we met  composer, Gerry Murphy who tells me he is working on a commemorative piece for 1916. Secretary of Cork Operatic Society,  Deirdre Long told me that work has begun on the next production Der Vampyr. A very special evening in Waterford. Great to have been there and to be a part of it!
Dominic Finn 
  On Saturday morning, choral composer and Director of Music at St. Colman's Cathedral Cobh made it through wind and rain and arrived in Waterford to lead a workshop in liturgical music at St John's Pastoral Centre. Finn presented an attractive and  varied selection of  liturgical music by contemporary Irish and American composers and the ensemble drawn from choirs from around the county quickly got to grips with some serious 4 part harmony.  An engaging and good humoured facilitator, Finn shared some of his views on style and substance of liturgical music. ' A gospel acclamation should be joyful, uplifting and driven'  he said. He spoke about matching music to the surroundings. What might resonate in a great cathedral space maybe being different to what might suit a more modest parish church.

Neil Brand The Big Score
After a long journey on rain sodden highways, it was a relief to collapse in front of the telly on Friday evening. I don't usually mention TV programmes on these reports but Neil Brand's documentary of film music was so good that I am making an exception and  noting it here. The Sound of the Cinema was aired on Friday night, BBC 4. In the first episode, Brand gave fascinating insights into the work of 30's film composers of Steiner, Korngold and Hermann. Among the highlights, he travelled to Hollywood to peer into the hand written scores of classic movies,  The Adventures of Robin Hood and Psycho and  met one of a rare musical species, silent movie organist Bernie Anderson There are two more episodes airing on Friday evenings. I recommend staying in or setting your recorder.

First published 9th Feb , amended 10th Feb

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