With Fergus Sheil conducting, the highly acclaimed State Choir Latvija came to Christ Church Cathedral to present an evening of Arvo Part compositions along with a few Irish ones as well. This was a much anticipated concert and at the end the standing ovation as sustained and exciting.
Sheil talks to his audience and is friendly and informative even if he confused Plunkett Station with Oliver Plunkett not Joseph Mary Plunkett the executed 1916 hero.
This choir of 15 males and 17 females began with an Italian work Dopo La Vittoria – a small cantata – commissioned from part by Milan to celebrate Saint Ambrose. The work on offer was mostly church or spiritual music where the Amen’s were sonorous and beautiful.
Whish Was The Son Of was a piece of technical interpretation that showed the genius of this Estonian composer. Two Marian Anthems by Rhona Clarke got me thinking of the Hostel in Lady Lane that was run by The Legion of Mary called Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) and from my memory it was hardly heavenly.
A Deirdre McKay composition Plunkett’s Last Words just blew me away with the quality of the composition and the vocal layers the choir brought to the work.
Part’s Summa – in his Tinntinnabuli style seemed like a technical exercise in cleverness and his The Deer’s Cry on a prayer written by Saint Patrick had the same professional style.
After the interval, the Micheal O’Suilleabhán composition – Maranatha – was impressive and so beautiful. Part’s Magnificat had magnificent tranquillity and a hypnotic hymnal quality – My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord.
I loved the power and the glory of Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen with its big shout for The Nation’s Cry Unto Thee and the soft soprano work on O Morning Star.
They concluded with a Latvian folk tune and a splendid Bogoroditse Djevo.
Before the concert we dined at 47 The Bistro in Patrick Street – excellent menu, friendly staff and the price was attractive.