Cork International Choral Festival 2016

St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork

29 April 2016

Session 1: Stack Theatre, Cork

29 April 2016

Session 2: Stack Theatre, Cork

30 April 2016


Jaakko Mäntyjärvi Prologue to Romeo & Juliet World Premiere
Samuel WebbeWhen shall we three meet again?
Karen RehnqvistThe Raven himself is hoarse
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi Double double toil and trouble
Amanda FeeryChanged Utterly Winner of the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition (Cork only)
Kurt WeillZu Potsdam unter den Eichen
Kurt WeillDie Legende vom toten Soldaten
Frank MartinSongs for Ariel, from 'The Tempest'
Stephen McNeff, Text: Aoife MannixA Half Darkness World Premiere
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi Come away, death
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi No More Shakespeare Songs


Chamber Choir Ireland
Paul HillierConductor

Chamber Choir Ireland is delighted to return as Choir-in-Residence at Cork International Choral Festival presenting a Gala concert on Friday 29th April in St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork, as well as curating and presenting two Choral Symposium events. Gala Concert As part of Chamber Choir Ireland's 'Remembering in 2016' series of programmes, we start off the series by celebrating Shakespeare for the 400th anniversary of his death in a journey through the worlds of Macbeth, Twelfth Night & The Tempest,  including a new setting of the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet by Finnish composer, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi. We also mark a significant milestone in the history of the Irish state commemorating the Rising of Easter 1916.  With Cork International Choral Festival, we have commissioned Belfast-born composer, Stephen McNeff, and Irish poet, Aoife Mannix, to write a new piece of text and music reflecting on the rising.  In Stephen's words:

"When I was growing up in Wales my parents – both from the North of Ireland – used to refer to the ‘Free State’.  My mother never referred to Ireland as anything other than ’home’.  Like many of the Irish diaspora, I was acutely aware of the troubled nature of Ireland’s coming into being as a republic and the inherited responsibility of understanding the past and the sacrifices made to reach that goal.  On my trips back to my birthplace in Belfast I tried to gain a better understanding of my heritage, but it is only really now when a centenary focuses thoughts that I have taken to music to essay into the past and reflect on the tumultuous events of 1916.  Paradoxically, Aoife Mannix and I have arrived at our objective obliquely by starting the summer before Easter 1916 where, in the West of Ireland, Padraig Pearse was in retreat, teaching, writing and thinking.  For a rebellion at least partly inspired by poetry and a deep awareness of history, this approach was right for us.  It also allows us to expand our thoughts into a wider world and the influence and profound awe of the country and elements that is never far from the mind of anyone who has ever witnessed the harsh beauty of that landscape."

Choral Symposium Session 1: Friday 29th April, 2pm Stack Theatre, CIT Cork School of Music Admission: Free of charge In this, the first of two sessions curated by Paul Hillier and Chamber Choir Ireland, we will explore the commissioned work by Stephen McNeff with text by Aoife Mannix, together with the winning piece of the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition by Amanda Feery. To begin, the winning composer, Amanda Feery, will talk briefly about the conception and background of the piece, Changed Utterly, followed by an informal performance of it and some further discussion.  Moving on to the commissioned piece, A Half Darkness written in response to the commemorations of the 1916 rising, we will retrace the process of commissioning a new work in terms of the words and music together.  With input from both Stephen McNeff (composer) and Aoife Mannix (poet) and their coming together of minds for the piece, Paul Hillier and the singers will talk about their reaction to both the music and words, and the rehearsal process.  Following a read-through of the piece, there will be an open discussion between choir, conductor, composer, poet and attendees on reaction to and performance of the piece. Session 2: Saturday 30th April, 10.30am Stack Theatre, CIT Cork School of Music Admission: Free of charge Turning attention to the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition, Paul Hillier, Stephen McNeff, and the singers of Chamber Choir Ireland will discuss the subject of writing choral music today considering the needs and limitations of writing effectively for the voice in a choral context. The choir will give readings of two further selected composers of the Composition Competition - Criostóir Ó Loingsigh with his piece Fornocht do chonac thúand, Peter Moran with his piece The Four Noble Truths, as well as further reflection on the winning entry.   Chamber Choir Ireland's Performance and Presentations at the Cork International Choral Festival are funded through the Arts Council's Touring and Dissemination of Work Scheme.