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VOCALIS: LUNCHTIME CONCERT – MEDIEVAL MUSEUM

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Kevin O’Carroll

Medieval Museum, Sunday October 27, 12.00

The quality choral group Vocalis presents a lunchtime concert in the Medieval Museum, Waterford on Sunday October 27th at 12 noon. The concert will include: Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, Pergolesi’s Magnificat and George Shearing’s Songs and Sonnets.
Vocalis  is a south-east based professional standard choral ensemble and comprises eight singers and an accompanist.   Most of the singers reside in the Waterford/Wexford region and all have extensive performance experience, both national and international. Many of the singers have previously sung with the National Chamber Choir or Anúna. Last December the group presented a hugely impressive performance of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.  They are looking forward to entertaining Waterford Audiences with their interesting selection of music and quality of performance.
Vocalis is directed by Kevin O’Carroll, one of Waterford’s longest established choral directors. Kevin, has directed and recorded choirs in Ireland, Europe and the USA.  He is in demand both as a conductor, workshop provider, adjudicator and  choral consultant. He also lectures on conducting at a number of third level institutions.   The final member of the performance team is Dr. Marion Ingoldsby, an internationally renowned composer and lecturer at WIT. Marion is not only the accompanist but also “in-house composer” for the group.
Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary (1695) – Henry Purcell (1959 – 1695). Queen Mary II (wife of William of Orange) died of smallpox in December 1694.  after an extended lying in state she was buried on March 5th 1695.  Thomas Tudway was a chorister at the Queen’s funeral and remembered the power and simplicity of the music. ‘I appeal to all that were present, as well such as understood Music, as those that did not, whither they ever heard any thing so rapturously fine and solemn and so heavenly in the Operation, which drew tears from all; and yet a plain, natural composition which shows the power of music when ’tis rightly fitted and adapted to devotional purposes.’  Purcell vas very much inclined to revise his compositions and the version being performed  is the third version though it cannot necessarily be said tobe the definitive version.  Rather the composition was adjusted and altered to suit changing tastes of the time.  There are three movements ‘Man that is born of a woman, In the midst of life and Thou know’st Lord.
The Magnificat – Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 – 1736). For many years this work in six movements was considered to have been the work of Francesco Durante (1684 – 1755). In more recent times, however, experts have determined that the work is in fact by Pergolesi.  Durante, who had studied with Alessandro Scarlatti , was a teacher of Pergolesi and it is probably through this association that the initial misappropriation occurred.  One of the key features that distinguished the work of the two men from each other was Pergolesi’s greater individuality which was lacking in his mentor.  Notwithstanding his lack of individuality, Durante was described by some as the greatest harmonist of Italy in his day – though this was not acknowledged by those that considered the title should be conferred on Alessandro Scarlatti.
Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare – George Shearing (1919 – 2011). George Shearing was born blind into a family of nine children.  He started piano lessons at age 3.  Though he was offered several scholarships be preferred to play piano in the local pub for ’25 bob a week’.   From humble beginnings (his father was a coal delivery man and his mother cleaned trains) Shearing went on to be an internationally renowned jazz musician who play for no less than three US Presidents, was awarded an honary Doctorate in Music from Hamilton College, New York and from DePauw University, Indiana and received the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement .  Having moved to the USA in 1947 he became a naturalised citizen in 1956.  He was awarded an OBE in 1996. In 2007, he was knighted. “So,” he noted later, “the poor, blind kid from Battersea became Sir George Shearing. Now that’s a fairy tale come true.”  There are seven songs in this collection 1.) Live with me and be my love 2.) When daffodils begin to peer 3.) It was a lover and his lass 4.) Spring 5.)Who is Sylvia 6.) Fie on sinful fantasy 7.) Hey, ho, the wind and the rain.

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