It was a special treat and a very special occasion when the cream of Waterford choirs, conductors and associated musicians gathered at Christ Church Cathedral for a coffee concert to celebrate the compositions of Greg Scanlon. This was a unique tribute and testament of friends and a musical community to a composer from among them. In fact Greg Scanlon set up the event, laid out the choirs, conducted a choir, sang in a choir and did the introductions and thanks.
Bridget Knowles sang a cycle based on the dense depressive work of Emily Dickinson and with Deirdre Scanlon on viola and Marian Ingoldsby on piano, Knowles shone a vocal light that touched the heart of the audience.
As Hoc Chorale created a dreamy ethereal mood for a lyrical take on Yeats – “Heavenly Cloths”. Greg Scanlon’s daughter Emma on piano, sparkled with recurring dissonant on a meditation Shattered Crystal, that encapsulated the tragedy of an industry broken up like a community tossed aside.
A “String Quartet No.2” was a sad exploration of death and the futility of war ending in a slow moment lullaby to break your heart.
The cello work of Maeve McEvoy and viola work of Deirdre Scanlon matched the mood that Teresa Costello and Eimear Heaney continued on violin. There was a depth of emotion that a summer’s sunshine did not assuage. This was not sweet sickly romanticism but sharp nihilism.
Another award winning choir Voci under Anne Barry’s direction brought a more beautiful sadness to a variation on the Irish poem “Fill a Run”. Anne O’Riordan’s oboe intro was a lonely virtuoso sound as the choir and a string ensemble enriched the experience. This was another excellent example of the quality of Greg Scanlon’s work.
Madrigallery directed by Kevin O’Carroll closed this wonderful tribute with a dawn chorus of choral clarity. Dawn Calls brought freshness and sunlight with hope and a promise of summer skies of a soft May morning.
Memorable work and a wonderful sense of pride – Waterford pride – in a living composer among us still.