Kaleidoscope Night – Songs that fall on the turn at Crane Lane Theatre, May 7th, 2015

Tonight Kaleidoscope Night in association with Cork Orchestral Society and the Goethe-Institut makes a welcome return to Cork for their programme ‘Songs that Fall on the Turn’, to commemorate German-Irish composer, musicologist, educator and conductor Aloys Fleischmann. Tonight is also an opportunity for Cork audiences to hear Garrett Sholdice’s new work Unter Träumen, which was co-commissioned by Kaleidoscope and the Goethe-Institut which premiered last night in Dublin at the Odessa Club.

 After a brief introduction from some of the organisers, German soprano Janina Staub and Irish harpist Clare McCague arrive on stage to perform Aloys Fleischmann’s rarely performed songs cycle, The Poet’s Circuits. The work was first performed by Gráinne Yeats in 1972 as part of the Dublin Festival of Twentieth Century Music. On that occasion, Gráinne Yeats sang and played the harp whereas tonight the parts have divided between two performers. Soprano Janina Staub rather helpfully reads out the text of each song for the audience before singing them. Staub’s ability to project in the room is commendable. Every word is clear even when she is singing softly. This is no mean feat considering the fact that she has to compete to be heard over the noise of patrons in the courtyard.

This is then followed by some dances from German composer Michael Praetorius’ Terpsichore collection. These are performed with great aplomb by Marja Gaynor, Eamon Sweeney and Francesco Turrisi. Their performance of Thomas Baltzar’s John Come Kiss Me Now (a  title draws a few chuckles from the audience) conveys a sense of mischief and amusement while also displaying Finnish baroque violinist Marja Gaynor’s virtuosic prowess.

Consequently, Garrett Sholdice speaks to the audience about his work Unter Träumen (Amongst Dreams) which he explains was written as an “abstract response” to the music of Aloys Fleischmann. Sholdice also reveals that the title is derived from one of the last lines from W.B. Yeats’ poem, Men Improve with the Years. Janina Staub and Clare McCague then return to the stage once more to perform the work. Staub and McCague’s compelling performance of the work proves to be a highlight of the night and is ideally suited for the venue.

Irish clarinetist Jessie Grimes from the Alluna Ensemble opens the second half of the concert with Jörg Widmann’s virtuosic Fantasie for Solo Clarinet, which she describes as ‘a bit of a rollercoaster’. Grimes’ performance oozes confidence and charisma, an ideal choice for the intimate setting. She is then joined by two members of the Alluna Ensemble, Katie Slater and Joseph Houston for a memorable rendition of Schubert’s The Shepherd On The Rock.

Mezzo-soprano Camilla Griehsel Vearncombe, pianist Maurice Seezer, and Marja Gaynor bring the night to a close by treating the audience to some lively Latin American music which includes songs from Ástor Piazolla’s opera María de Buenos Aires. The final song Yo Soy Maria from María de Buenos Aires receives well deserved rapturous applause.


Janina Staub – Soprano

Clare McCague – Irish Harp

Marja Gaynor – Violin

Eamonn Sweeney – Baroque Guitar

Francesco Turrisi – Percussion

Camilla Griehsel Vearncombe – Mezzo soprano

Maurice Seezer – Piano

Alluna Ensemble: Jessie Grimes (clarinet), Joseph Houston (piano), Katie Slater (soprano)


“The Poet’s Circuits” – Aloys Fleischmann

  1. The Crane
  2. Black Tassels
  3. Caoine
  4. Spring

Che Si Puo Fare – Barbara Strozzi

Dances from Michael Praetorius’ Terpsichore: La Canarie, Calata ala spagnola, Chaconne

John Come Kiss Me Now – Thomas Baltzar

Unter Träumen – Garrett Sholdice

The Shepherd On The Rock D. 965 – Franz Schubert

Fantasie for Solo Clarinet – Jörg Widmann

Collection of Latin American songs including songs from Ástor Piazolla’s opera María de Buenos Aires.