There was a unique Coffee Concert at Christ Church Cathedral during the harvest Festival when organist and composer Eric Sweeney enthralled his audience with a new set of compositions, inspired by aspects of the Cathedral itself. It was wonderful in the presence of the composer and organist to hear him premiere new work based on the very venue.
I’m sure if the mandarins of the Arts Council were in attendance they would hang their heads in shame to have removed all funding from this venue.
The Baptismal Font was a gentle sense of water flowing in renewal and celebration. The Cross, was a dramatic struggle of four notes in a rich medieval setting. The Altar was a reflective piece on the Eucharist, followed by The Bells – the joybells of Christ Church – with peals and runs of sound that reminded me of growing up in Waterford as my Father took me and my brother to walk beside the Suir and rejoice in the bells. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some organisation were to commission a piece from Sweeney linking choir, organ and the actual bells. He finished out the suite with The Lectern, full of notes and triumphant sounds that gave his imagination full throttle.
An earlier Bach, Prelude and Fugue was a rattle and hum of inventiveness and fanfares. Powerful, pleasing music.
I loved a Toccata Villancico and Fugue from the 20th century South American composer Alberto Ginastera, with wild passages of joy and celebration, a dancing Christmas tune for oboe and clarinet sounds and a modern passionate Fugue, much like the vigour of Bach.
It is a good thing to have such a composer as Eric Sweeney in our midst. Long may he continue to enrich us.