The Culwick Choral Society is delighted to bring to the NCH their 120th anniversary concert performance of two great choral masterpieces: the jubilant Gloria by Francis Poulenc and the sublime German Requiem by Brahms. Unique among choral requiems for setting passages from the Bible rather than from Catholic liturgy, the Brahms Requiem enjoys an enduring popularity with audiences because of its real, spiritual power. Non-believers and believers alike readily connect to an underlying universal assertion in this great work, namely that it is the living rather than the dead who stand in need of consolation. Conductor Bernie Sherlock directs the Culwick Choral Society with a professional orchestra led by Brona Fitzgerald, and highly-renowned soloists Sinéad Campbell–Wallace (soprano) and John Molloy (baritone).
The exuberance of Poulenc’s Gloria offers the perfect foil to the Brahms. ‘When I wrote this piece’, Poulenc famously recalled, ‘I had in mind those frescoes by Gozzoli where the angels stick out their tongues; and also some serious Benedictine monks I had once seen revelling in a game of football.’
We are delighted to announce our Christmas Concert at the National Concert Hall on Monday December 11th, 2017 at 8pm This year’s special work is Vaughan Williams’ ultimate homage to Christmas, The First Nowell, which combines favourite carols for soloists, choir and orchestra in what proved to be the last music he wrote before he died in 1958.
Mendelssohn on Elijah: “I imagined Elijah as a real prophet through and through, of the kind we could really do with today: Strong, zealous and, yes, even bad-tempered, angry and brooding—in contrast to the riff-raff, whether of the court or the people, and indeed in contrast to almost the whole world—and yet borne aloft as if on angels’ wings.”.
How about this for a taster of Elijah before our Spring Concert on April 9th in the National Concert Hall
We are excited to celebrate Christmas with what will be a truly wonderful night at the National Concert Hall featuring special guest soprano Cara O’Sullivan on Monday Dec 5th at 8pm.
Also joining us for our jam-packed programme of seasonal music will be the Dublin Concert Band conducted by Fergus O’Carroll, the women and girls of the award-winning Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath, and our own David O’Shea, organist and pianist. Our compère for the evening is the celebrated broadcaster Olivia O’Leary.
Amidst a bounty of familiar seasonal favourites, old and new, our highlight will be the first performance in Ireland of On Christmas Night, a beautiful Christmas cantata by the English composer Bob Chilcott. Written in 2011 for choir, chamber ensemble and organ, it’s based on a delightful sequence of eight carols and offers a charming celebration of the Christmas story.
Other highlights include the Christmas music from Handel’s Messiah, and sing-along Christmas carols and songs.
So snap up a ticket and join in our Christmas cheer!
What a wonderful night we had singing on Culture Night 16th September 2016! The venue for the performance was the magnificent neo-classical ballroom in the 18th century Powerscourt Townhouse, perfect for a concert.
Led by our award winning conductor Bernie Sherlock, and accompanied by Donal Dignam, we sang an amusing, moving and rousing programme of works, including witty songs and sonnets by William Shakespeare set to music with jazz influences by George Shearer, Irish airs including Oft in the Stilly Night, and Down by the Salley Gardens arranged by the late Edgar Deale, a longtime member of the choir, and the rousing Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah, all of which were received enthusiastically by the large audience in the ballroom. The programme was so successful we were asked to repeat to allow those queuing outside to come in and hear it.
We are very grateful to Mary Larkin of Powerscourt Townhouse for her work with our President, George McLellan, in organising the event.
So it’s the 9th of May, the day after the night before … and oh what a night it was!
We have been working solidly for the past number of months in preparation for singing the Irish premiere of Roxanna Panufnik’s Westminster Mass. To say that this work presented a myriad of challenges is an understatement: it’s modern, it’s fast, it’s slow, it’s sometimes a capella, it’s dissonant but most importantly it’s truly magnificent.
Panufnik joined us and gave a great interview before we sang the work, you could sense the energy in the Concert Hall – from the first chime of the tubular bells in the Kyrie right through to the resounding Lamb of God, we really gave it our all. The standing ovation for Roxanna (and us!) reflected the triumph that this work is.
Premiering Panufnik was an honour – singing a work so modern and pairing it with Mozart pushed our comfort zones, stretched our limits and elevated our singing to an entirely new place. It was a magical night. We cannot wait to present our next programme … watch this space!
Come along to this not-to-be-missed Irish premiere.
Panufnik’s radiant and much-loved Westminster Mass was a 1998 commission for London’s Westminster Cathedral Choir to celebrate the 75th birthday of the late Cardinal Hume. His response upon hearing the music was to tell Panufnik – then still 29 years old – that she “pierced the clouds” between the congregation and God.
“Its combination of brilliance, charm and what you might call the ‘common touch’ bridged many of the boundaries that separate new music from a wider audience.” (Critic, Michael White).
“The Westminster Mass is extremely beautiful… here was something unarguably spiritual, something which forced you to take the entire proceedings seriously… passing dissonances resolve into consonant harmonies that break through like a shaft of light before they are resolved again…” (Tempo Magazine).