Friday 14th October 2022 | 7.30pm
Curtis Auditorium, MTU Cork School of Music
Presented in partnership with East Cork Early Music Festival.
Madrigal ’75, director James Taylor
Cork Baroque Players
Lauren McCann, soprano
Francesco Giusti, alto
Stuart Kinsella, tenor
Tim Nelson, bass
€25 (COS Members: €22)
Cork’s favourite chamber choir Madrigal ’75 with the Cork Baroque Players raise their voices in joyous song again for a performance of Handel’s Messiah, singing ‘Hallelujah’, after too long without choral singing during COVID.
In 1741, Georg Frideric Handel was invited to Dublin by the then Lord Lieutenant to give concerts in for charitable causes. Ireland was in the grip of famine, and the concerts benefited debtors’ relief and Mercer’s Hospital, and the biggest concert of these, was the premiere of the Messiah in Neale’s Music Hall in Fishamble Street. If you had called to Handel’s rooms in Abbey Street, you might have been able to snag one from the man himself for half a guinea. The room was so packed out that ladies were requested not to wear hoops in their skirts and gentlemen were requested not to wear their swords in order to squeeze people in.
Madrigal ’75 and Cork Baroque Players with soloists Lauren McCann (soprano), Francesco Giusti (alto), Stuart Kinsella (tenor), and Tim Nelson (bass) bring that eighteenth-century concert to vibrant life in the present day with historic instruments and a timeless approach.
Madrigal ’75 is a vocal ensemble based in Cork City and its repertoire ranges from early music to modern, both sacred and secular. Founded in 1975 by University students, the choir now comprises of a diverse combination of singers from Cork and further afield. Madrigal ’75 has developed a reputation as a vocal ensemble of great skill and beauty, performing repertoire from as early as the 14th century right through to contemporary choral works including first performances of new commissions.
The group has performed at services at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral, London. In 2005 Madrigal ’75 was a prominent participant in the Cork European Capital of Culture events and toured France as cultural ambassadors for the city. Madrigal ’75 is also the winner of the Carols for Christmas 2006 competition on Lyric FM, Ireland’s national arts and culture radio station. Other successes include Best Choir at the Montreux Festival, several Best Performances and First Prize awards at successive Cork International Choral Festivals, and the Irish Choir of the Year award. Since 2007, Madrigal ’75 has been directed by James Taylor, organist and harpsichordist, who, having held posts in the UK, New Zealand and Canada, now lectures at CIT Cork School of Music. Until 2017, James was also Assistant Director of Music at St. Finbarre’s Cathedral Cork. James has performed concerts across Canada and the United States, in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand, and he has participated in numerous television and radio broadcasts as a soloist and accompanist.
The Cork Baroque Orchestra was set up as ‘resident band’ for East Cork Early Music Festival. Conceived as a response to the growing interest in historically inspired music performance, CBO provides a precious opportunity for Irish and Irish-based musicians to work with the world’s leading early music specialists, as part of a high- level, professional orchestra, with an array of guest directors. CBO made its debut in 2013 with Finnish harpsichordist and conductor Aapo Häkkinen. In 2014, one of the world’s foremost Baroque violinists, Elizabeth Wallfisch, led a programme of Vivaldi, Schmelzer, Telemann and a new work by the Clonakilty-based Justin Grounds. According to the Irish Examiner the result was “…memorable for (its) energy, sense of phrasing, dynamic contrasts, and brilliance”. CBO’s debut at Cork International Choral Festival in May 2015 with Madrigal 75 was again hailed by the Examiner as “… a magnificent performance… Throughout, the orchestral playing was crisp and supportive.”.