27 April 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
The weekend ahead boasts a rich variety of music and song in Cork as the Cork International Choral Festival reaches its peak and the city buzzes with a harmony of voices.
There is something for everyone this weekend with both planned and impromptu events on every corner – from world premieres to interactive workshops and massive sing-along events, there will be no escaping the joyous atmosphere!
Friday sees the world premiere of ‘The Great Mystery’ in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral at 7.30pm. A stunning performance by Chamber Choir Ireland, the Festival’s Choir-in-Residence, the show will feature works from German composer Bernd Franke, the late Peter Maxwell Davies, John Lonergan’s winning entry of the Sean O Riada Composition Competition City Shower as well as the central work to this programme; the world premiere performance of Ne Reminicaris by David Fennessy, the second in a triptych of pieces newly commissioned by Chamber Choir Ireland and Cork International Choral Festival. Fennessy takes some influence from works by Orlandus Lassus as edited by British musicologist Clive Wearing – works which book-end this complete programme.
Also on Friday, at 10.30pm in Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne, a late-night gala concert ‘Evocations’ will take place with New Dublin Voices, an internationally acclaimed award-winning chamber choir. Founded by award-winning conductor, Bernie Sherlock, in 2005, NDV strives to present concert programmes that are fresh, innovative and exciting, ranging widely in style and period, from the medieval to the contemporary. The choir takes special pleasure in exploring the music of living composers and has given many Irish and world premieres.
For those who want to take to the stage themselves, The Big Sing in Cork City Hall is your change. It will begin at 12.00pm and ensures that everybody gets the opportunity to sing in the Festival. Everyone is invited along to this big and bright participatory singing event and admission is free. There’s no preparation necessary – just sing from, and for, the heart! In just 45 mins, composer and conductor Gemma Sugrue will teach a well-known choral work to the crowd.
Other highlights on Saturday include the prestigious 2017 International Fleishmann Gala in Cork City Hall at 3pm and 8pm. Both the afternoon and evening concerts will offer audiences the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s top amateur choirs competing for the Fleischmann International Trophy, one of the most prestigious choral prizes in Europe. Judged by a panel of eminent musicians and choral experts, the competition will be presented in a concert format and will feature music from Renaissance to contemporary and compositions from each choir’s home country. It is a real opportunity for audiences to discover a range of interesting music sung to a very high standard.
The 2017 Cork International Choral Festival’s Awards Ceremony will take place in Cork City Hall at 5.15pm, followed by the Closing Gala Concert at 8pm. International choirs presenting choral music representative of their musical and cultural backgrounds will perform in a joyful celebration of song and colour. This is always a highlight of the week.
As one of the hubs of the festival, The Clayton Hotel will host Afternoons in the Atrium, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 at 2pm, providing a weekend of energetic and entertaining performances by national and international choirs in the fresh, modern setting of the Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay.
The hotel will also be the location of the all-important after parties! It’s the perfect place to kick back and relax with festival choirs and guests, whether you’re in the mood to sing, dance, drink or mingle your way into the small hours.
For full event listings and to book Gala tickets, see www.CorkChoral.ie