3 October 2022
By Tom Collins
Arts & Enterment News
What: East Cork Early Music Festival
Where: Cork city, Midleton & Cloyne
When: 13-16th October, 2022
East Cork Early Music Festival returns with four days of life-affirming music, rekindling long standing friendships and partnerships with music from the past that’s a gift in the present.
East Cork Early Music has had 20 years of friendship with Madrigal ‘75, Cork’s favourite chamber choir, and their work in the past has included Monteverdi Vespers in the North Cathedral, and a seminal St. John Passion with Sestina Music at St. Mary’s Collegiate Church Youghal. With choirs returning after long COVID hiatuses, it was the perfect year to renew this old friendship for a performance of Handel’s perennial favourite the Messiah, accompanied by the Cork Baroque Players. Handel’s best known chorus – the Hallelujah – certainly expresses how grateful we are to be able to play and sing together once more.
Since its opening, East Cork Early Music have partnered with Nano Nagle Place museum (recent winners of the Council of Europe Prize) and brought history to life through music in their atmospheric spaces. The Goldie Chapel will ring with historic music for full audiences again this October, hosting the opening and closing concerts of the festival. On Thursday 13th October, Brú | New Early Music take us on a musical journey through an ancient Norwegian poem, combining Nordic folk songs and early music with a contemporary edge. On Sunday 16th October, critically-acclaimed Italian violinist Davide Monti explores the power of string instruments in music of the eighteenth-century, bringing the stars of the festival together with Italo-Indian viola player Krishna Nagaraja and Irish cellist Norah O’Leary.
Harpsichordist Malcolm Proud’s ensemble Camerata Kilkenny has also played at the festival since its inception, and this year returns historic music on historic instruments to the 13th-century Cloyne Cathedral, bringing its ancient spiritual atmosphere to life with Bach’s famous church cantatas, starring soloists Julia Doyle, soprano and Michael Niesemann, oboe. The next generation of early music stars in Ireland is also featured in East Cork, with the rising Iverni Baroque ensemble diving into music by Purcell, Barbara Strozzi & more at St. John the Baptist Church Midleton.
The festival continues to highlight the work of lesser-known composers, this time with Dr. Yonit Kosovske’s ensemble and their programme La Femme Forte, featuring soprano Pauline Graham, violinist Debbie Diamond, and viola da gamba player Sarah Groser. Their work explore cantatas on the stories of Esther and Judith, by French composer Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, a favourite subject also of female artists like Artemisia Gentileschi.
Artistic Director Caitríona O’Mahony said, “After the challenges of the last couple of years, we’re thrilled to have wonderful artists singing and playing together again. With the absolute favourites of Handel and Bach in there, there will be plenty of joyful and uplifting music to celebrate coming back together with our audiences, and coming back to the particular brand of time-travel that we can only do through music of the past.”
In its fringe events, the festival will also include special performances for schools and workshops for rising musicians and young composers.
Thursday 13th October
6pm | Brú New Early Music | Scandinavian Spirits | Nano Nagle Place
Friday 14th October
1pm – Kosovske, Graham, Diamond, Groser | La Femme Forte | UCC
7:30pm – Madrigal ‘75 & Cork Baroque Players, with Lauren McCann, Francesco Giusti, Stuart Kinsella & Tim Nelson | Handel’s Messiah | Cork School of Music
Saturday 15th October
1pm – Iverni Baroque Ensemble | Music for a While | Church of St. John the Baptist, Midleton
7:00pm – Camerata Kilkenny, Julia Doyle, Michael Niesemann | Cantatas & concerti by Bach | Cloyne Cathedral
Sunday 16th October
5pm – Davide Monti & Festival All-stars | Music Invisible | Nano Nagle Place