NDV: Music from Ireland Séamas de BARRA (b. 1955)
Ave Maria (1985) [4:12] Michael McGLYNN (b. 1964)
Invocations (1991) [1:22] Eibhlis FARRELL (b. 1953)
Caritas abundat (1995) [5:00] Michael HOLOHAN (b. 1956)
Bagairt na Marbh (2002) [4:05] Rhona CLARKE (b. 1958)
Regina coeli (2007) [3:18] Ben HANLON (b. 1952)
O frondens Virga (2010) [3:46] Kevin O'CONNELL (b. 1958)
Fáilte don éan (1988) [4:05] Stephen GARDNER (b. 1958)
The Saviour must have been (2010) [4:51] Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852 – 1924)
The Blue Bird Op.119 No.3 (1910) [3:36] Traditional
(arr. Conor O'Reily) Danny Boy [4:01]
(arr. Howard Goodall) The Star of County Down [3:14]
(arr. Fiontán Ó Cearbhaill) Suantraí ár Slánaitheora [3:37]
(arr. Jonathan Nangle) Coventry Carol [3:40]
(arr. David Hayes) Beidh aonach amárach [3:18]
New Dublin Voices/Bernie Sherlock
rec. Memorial Hall, University College Dublin, 2013
No text provided RTÉ LYRIC FM CD148 [52:18]
Besides records entirely devoted to one composer's music, RTÉ lyric fm also produce discs centring on particular performers. These include the recital of Irish piano works by Michael McHale (The Irish Piano – CD139), the trio recital by Triocca (CD122), the disc of works for clarinet and orchestra played by John Finucane (CD124) and the one now under review.
As can be seen from the heading this choral recital consists of original works interspersed with arrangements of traditional tunes, some well known (Danny Boy or Coventry Carol), some rather less so. This recital, as might be expected, serves as a formidable calling-card demonstrating the expertise and superb singing of the New Dublin Voices. A number of works were composed over the last thirty years or so by composers of quite different horizons though most of them belong to the same generation. As is often the case one inevitably has ones favourite items. I find it hard to choose amongst the 'classical' works. Each has its mood and character making this choral recital quite varied. Some of these pieces are rather taxing. These include Caritas abundat on a text by Hildegarde von Bingen set by Eibhlis Farrell or the fairly impressive Bagairt na Marbh (The Threat of the Dead) by Michael Holohan. On the other hand settings such as the very fine and joyful Regina coeli by Rhona Clarke are somewhat more straightforward.
As to the traditional tunes arranged by various composers I particularly liked the beautiful and imaginative treatment of that arch-Irish tune Danny Boy by Conor O'Reilly, the delicate Suantraí ár Slánaitheora (Lullaby of our Saviour) (Fintan O'Carroll), the deeply moving Coventry Carol (Jonathan Nangle) and the extremely funny Beidh aonach amárach (David Hayes).
The closing item is Stanford's celebrated The Blue Bird - an example of how to make a fine song from a not particularly remarkable text. This little gem brings this quite attractive short choral recital to a quite beautiful conclusion. It's very well sung and well recorded. It's very enjoyable indeed and worth exploring for all those little known Irish works that clearly deserve more than the occasional hearing.