It was a chill Sunday, with a watery sun signifying the bleak mid-winter, as the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, under the inspirational direction of Eric Sweeney, processed down the centre aisle of the cathedral to take a rapt audience on a journey over six centuries. Resplendent in their long red gowns, the choirsters, some two dozen of them, took their place in the altar pews and their wonderful voices gave praise to God and pleasure to others.
The opening Plainsong was simple in its beauty and beautiful in its simplicity as it set an Advent scene with Rotate Caeli. A 16th century Palestrina Magnificat was beautiful and the angelic soaring voices for Allegri’s Miserere had a timeless quality. The Vatican kept this song for themselves for centuries, long before Rev. Rowland Hill (1844) preached that ‘the Devil should not have all the best tunes’. The solo work of Karen Bolger, Caroline Senior, Anne Woodworth and Eoin Power was excellent with the soaring female line and the sonorous male line combining in rare amazement.
Cecilia Keogh, on the organ, gave great feeling to the pedals and rounds of a Bach, Prelude and Fugue in G.
Eric Sweeney’s own 2007 composition, Magnificat (My soul doth magnify the Lord) was another seasonal pleasure before the mysterious Russian Orthodox style of Tavener’s Hymn To The Mother Of God. The choir separated in two groups, singing three beats behind each other to create a wonderful echo and depth with the piece.
The Coffee Concert ended with a splendid, I Was Glad, by Parry and this was full-blooded, triumphalist stuff, with organ fanfares and powerful singing. The soloists in fine form, were Dermot Murray, Caroline Senior, Anne Woodworth and Eoin Power.