The venue was a plus in itself, The Undercroft at The Deanery in Cathedral Square, but it was damp and chilly. However, herbal tea and mulled wine provided sustenance and good cheer and the fine vocal quartet, Concordia, impressed with medieval music and singing of a high order. The equally impressive Morisca Consort added recorders and violas to the evening that started at seven of an auspicious Sunday 10/10/10.
It is possible that this type of music had not been heard in this historic place since the Reformation and Éamon McEneany the City Historian put the venue into context that went back to a warrior bishop in 1280 when 240 coins were minted from a pound of silver.
Adding to the uniqueness of the occasion was the fact that this concert would be the last as the venue was closing down to be turned into a new museum as part of the City Council’s ambitious plan for the Viking Triangle.
A lively plain chant got the evening off to a fine start with a beautiful example of polyphony in Viderunt Omnes, a Tallis tune If Ye Love Me was beautiful and showed the wonderful range of the four young singers – Niall Crowley, Brendan Long, Dermot Doyle and Ruairí de Frein.
The medieval trio Morisca Consort of Andrew Robinson, Laoise O’Brien and Sarah Groser charmed the capacity audience with a dance and a Henry VIII composition. Henry was very musical in his pre-marriage years and collected at least 76 recorders as well as composing many tunes and songs. Concordia wowed the audience with his wistful but romantic, O My Heart.
After a pleasant interval Dermot Doyle delighted in the solo, Begone Sweet Night. The Morisca Consort shone with a browing where a tune is carried by one of three instruments all the while a more complex tune is playing. I loved the way Niall Crowley and musicians gave enough information to enable the audience to enjoy the experience all the more. It also suited the intimate space. Then it was on to drinking songs and lusty tunes and a clever tune for four pipe smokers. A Purcell Ground Bass Catch was like a lullaby and set the mood for more of the same.
I hope that when this venue reopens as part of the new museum, that these singers and musicians will be on hand to celebrate the occasion.