DIT Chamber Choir’s Annual Christmas Concert at The National Concert Hall, 5 December 2014
An aura of festive cheer illuminates the John Field Room as the DIT Chamber Choir performs an array of musical gems from the Renaissance and Twentieth Century.
The ensemble’s director, David Brophy is replaced today by Conservatory student, Killian Farrell. His confident narrative between songs provides ample entertainment to the enthusiastic audience, however, his presentation is lacking in projection. Even though this is an informal lunchtime setting, the choir members fail to look unified in their respective attire, with one alto choosing to wear a distinctly vibrant red scarf over the black garb of the rest of the group. The first half of the programme is concerned with the works of Philips, Taverner, Byrd, Sheppard and Gibbons. Despite the many technical difficulties in performing this style of music, the choir deliver a respectable interpretation of these works. Unfortunately, there appears to be little interaction between the singers and their conductor, as many of his directions are ignored. This gives rise to an unbalanced sound in many places, pitching errors, and a variety of blemished timings.
The second half of the concert is, as noted by Farrell, “easier on the ear”, as we encounter the songs of Holst, Howells, Rutter, Vaughan Williams and Parry. The choir appear more assured in their singing here, with Chris Murphy and Rachel Manning delivering their respective solo lines in Holst’s ‘Lullay my Liking’ with aplomb. Slight pitching problems creep into the soprano line of ‘Wassail’ towards its final bars. This is quickly forgotten as the choir gives an enchanting performance of ‘Rutter’s ‘Nativity Carol’. Smiles radiate amongst the singers in a stirring rendition of Parry’s ‘Welcome, Yule’. The concert ends with a playful arrangement of ‘Jingle Bells’.
Overall, the concert is well received, despite the few foibles noticeable to the trained ear.
Philips: ‘Alma redemptoris mater’
Philips: ‘O beatum et Sacrosanctum Diem’
Byrd: ‘Hodie Christus natus est’
Byrd: ‘Lulla, Lullaby’
Sheppard: ‘Rejoice in the Lord’
Byrd: ‘O magnum mysterium’
Gibbons: ‘Lift up your heads’
Holst: ‘Lullay my Liking’
Howells: ‘A Spotless Rose’
Rutter: ‘Nativity Carol’
Vaughan Williams: ‘Wassail’
Parry: ‘Welcome, Yule!’