Mixing Bach with Julia Wolfe: Chamber Choir Ireland Motets Series Continues

Julia Wolfe (photo: Peter Serling)

Mixing Bach with Julia Wolfe: Chamber Choir Ireland Motets Series Continues

Third 'Before Bach and After' concert takes place this weekend, followed by two dates in May.

Chamber Choir Ireland continue their four-part Before Bach and After series this weekend with a performance at St Ann’s Church in Dublin on Sunday 3 February, followed by dates in Limerick and Cork in May.

The series combines the motets of Bach with related contemporary and historical works, so far including music by Palestrina, Brahms, Dufay and David Fennessy. The third programme will feature works by composers Julia Wolfe, Anne Boyd and Santa Ratniece exploring different spiritual traditions – Jewish, Buddhist and Ainu. 

‘A leaf out of the book of Ward Swingle’
The choir’s programme will centre around two Bach motets – Lobet den Herrn and Komm Jesu komm, the latter of which Artistic Director Paul Hillier describes as ‘one of the more relaxed and intimate motets… it’s a motet I’m very fond of’. In addition to these works, the choir will perform vocalised versions of  instrumental music by Bach – ‘taking a leaf out of the book of Ward Swingle who created the Swingle Singers’ – including a fugue and a movement from the cantata Wachet auf

Spiritual traditions
The Bach works will be intertwined with the new works: Australian composer Anne Boyd’s 1975 work As I crossed a bridge of dreams is based on the Sarashina Nikki, a piece of classic Japanese literature that incorporates the names of the Buddha in its text; American composer Julia Wolfe’s 2009 work Guard my tongue is a setting of words from Psalm 34; and Latvian composer Santa Ratniece’s Horo Horo Hata Hata (2008) is based on the words of an Ainu lullaby. 

Hillier adds:

The composers haven’t call these works motets – I do – because I like to relate it to the other works that we are presenting in this series. I’m particularly glad to be presenting these three pieces which have a kind of distant origin, each in their own individual way.

The Dublin concert will be preceded by a talk with CCI Chief Executive Majella Hollywood in conversation with broadcaster Tim Thurston. For more information and tickets, visit www.chamberchoirireland.com.

As well as the Before Bach and After series, Chamber Choir Ireland continue their Tuesday lunchtime lecture series at the NCH with a talk on Moore’s Irish Melodies by Una Hunt (5 Feb.); Séamus Crimmins interviewing composer and former CCI Artistic Director Colin Mawby (12 Feb.) and an overview of Irish Choral Music since 1945 with Mark Fitzgerald (19 Feb.). Chamber Choir Ireland will also perform in the upcoming New Music Dublin festival. For tickets, visit www.nch.ie.

This news item is supported by Chamber Choir Ireland.

Published on 29 January 2019

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