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

Monday, December 8, 2014

Limerick Choral Union: Celebrating 50 years of Singing


On Sunday, it was my pleasure to join the orchestra for one of the biggest choral events of the year. Limerick Choral Union marked the end of their 50th year with an epic choral extravaganza featuring 240 choristers, a trio of soloists and a 53 piece orchestra. Always an outfit to do things in style, LCU invited Galway Choral Association, a teenage choir from Villiers Secondary School and boys and girls from Scoil Ide to join them . The collaboration across the generations and county borders made this a truly joyful vibrant occasion. Musical director Malcolm Greene pulled all the elements together with his customary energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail.

Soprano Jean Wallace
A fearless Jean Wallace stepped into the breach caused by an indisposed Franzita Whelan. Poulenc's Gloria is a gorgeous six movement work full of colourful contrasts. The comprehensive programme notes reminded us that the work was premiered in Boston in 1961 not too long before the choir was first formed. The dramatic stakes were raised with a performance of Carl Orff's epic choral cantata, Carmina Burana.  based on two dozen medieval Latin texts on the fickleness of fate and the perils and pleasures of  overindulgence. Jean was joined by Hungarian baritone Gyula Nagy and Derek Moloney in counter tenor mode The  varied palette of vocal timbres and textures enhanced with unusual rarely heard orchestral colours  in wind and percussion sections made for  rich musical tapestry  

The house was full to capacity and after a standing ovation, choristers, musicians and patrons lingered a long time in UCH foyer  to savour the occasion, a fitting finale to the Limerick City of Culture. I was proud to be a part of it.

The programme will be repeated in Galway with Choristers of St Nicholas Scola Cantorum at Seapoint, Salthill, on Saturday 31st January 2015

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