Overall, the Imagine Festival hit a purple patch and proved to be the creative success its founders had believed and hoped it would be. The strong emphasis on family events, children’s events and rock and world music linked to theatre, literature and visual arts, was impressive and the final Sunday was no exception.
The young Faber and Faber published short story writer enthralled a noon-time Sunday reading at The Granary and took a list of questions and explained her methods of writing, often going into thirty drafts to refine the style of words and language of the work. She caught the mood with a story of illicit longings, spite, dirty talk, hopes and stabs at happiness and the oblique language of people who cannot be direct for fear of consequences.
That afternoon the opening SCOW concert at Christ Church Cathedral was the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Bright sunlight streamed in the windows for a Vivaldi Concerto for flute and strings. The soloist, Massimo Mercelli, excelled on The Goldfinch as his flute thrilled and twittered and his control on a pensive Cantabile was masterful.
An unusually solemn Mozart, Adagio created a processional mood as the sunlight faded across the cathedral.
A Bach Suite of dances and a Badinerie was light with the strings being busy but bland. But Mercelli’s flute work was interesting and vital. The closing Badinerie was as bland as the ringtone it has become.
After the interval, as the dusk fell, a newly commissioned Eric Sweeney, Slow Air, caught the mood like a variation on a hint of a tune, an elusive fairy air, vague yet persuasive, where cellos and violas reduced the sound down the scale to an almost breath only for the violins to bring it back, haunting, taunting, elusive. Then the cellos restated the air fleetingly like will’o the wisp or Jack o’Lantern. Wonderful music in the presence of the composer on a Hallowe’en weekend.
The closing Tchaikovsky Serenade had the attack and bigness of sound of a Symphony, with a glorious Waltzer. A gorgeous Elegie and some easily recognisable music that delighted the audience as the cathedral lights brightened against the encroaching darkness.
A delayed starting time did not set the right mood in the Granary for a Dance/Theatre piece advertised as, as Gaeilge. It had a rambling start, with just a bit too much rapid-fire Irish from a man up a ladder blathering on about politics. This Ciotog Dance Company of Morgan Cooke and Rionach Ni Neill presented A&E, supposedly an Adam and Eve gender conflict and while early on it seemed more Accident and Emergency, it developed into a wonderful display of music, dance and angelic singing. A sequence with a mirror ball was beautiful and had the impact of a Cirque De Soleil moment. I was glad I made the effort to see it and went home enriched and very happy.