Limerick Early Music Festival

Limerick Early Music Festival

Saturday, 16 March 2024, 10.00am

From North Africa to 18th century Germany, in the footsteps of mediaeval pilgrims or travelling along with JS Bach, the Limerick Early Music Festival is set to take concertgoers on an unforgettable journey.
Limerick Early Music Festival takes place on Wednesday 20, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 March with this year’s theme being ‘Journeys’, be it pilgrims to holy places, an epic trip a young Bach took to see a favourite musician or the music which arose from encounters between cultures across Spain and North Africa.
Across three days, leading international exponents of Early Music will bring Limerick City concertgoers on an extraordinary musical adventure for the ears, the imagination, and the soul.
A taste of the Festival comes with Renaissance Music in Costume at The Milk Market, Limerick city centre on Saturday 16 March from 10am to 12 noon. The sounds of the recorder, pipe-and-tabor, and early and traditional folk instruments, played by Ukrainian multi-instrumentalists Vsevolod Sadovyj and Snezhana Rybal’skaya, will swirl amidst the stalls of the Saturday morning market to accompany costume-clad lads and lasses. The event returns to the same location on Saturday 23 March at 10am.
Limerick’s mediaeval quarter comes to musical life on Wednesday 20 March at 5.30pm, as Dublin-based vocal ensemble Peregryne (Stuart Kinsella, dir.) bring the sung office of Compline to Saint Mary's Cathedral for a sublime start to LEMF’s long weekend.
Featuring chant, Renaissance polyphony, and crowned with a large scale anthem from the Eton choirbook (c.1500), the group will bring the grandeur of the vocal tradition of the 15th and 16th centuries to this splendid mediaeval building in a musical service that is free and open to the public.
A different kind of journey will be commemorated at 8pm on Friday 22 March in Journeying With Bach at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. In 1705, a 20-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach walked 250 miles to see a performance by Dietrich Buxtehude, the renowned organist of Lubeck. This concert, which has by now become an annual tradition on LEMF’s billing, will see Ancór, St Mary's Cathedral Choir, Sagittarius Hiberniensis, and LEMF orchestra and vocal soloists perform music by Buxtehude and Heinrich Schütz, along with two Bach cantatas.
The mediaeval pilgrimage is the inspiration behind Peregrinatio - Mediaeval Songs of Travel, Pilgrimage and Spiritual Journeys, in Saint Joseph’s Church, O’Connell Street, on Saturday 23 at 2pm.
Mediaeval pilgrimages could be dangerous undertakings as the faithful risked unfamiliar landscapes and encounters with bandits in order to see the holy relics or tombs of saints and prophets.
The concert will feature songs of travel, songs expressing fear of the unknown and songs of rejoicing at arrival. They will be performed by Limerick Youth Choir and Cantette Choir, directed by the award winning Máire Keary-Scanlon and vocal ensemble Cantoral, directed by Catherine Sergent. There will be an ensemble of mediaeval instruments and the production is directed by Vlad Smishkewych, who features as vocal soloist.
Central to the programme is a mediaeval drama about the Three Marys’ pilgrimage to Jesus’ empty tomb, the Visitatio Sepulchri, reconstructed from mediaeval sources from Dublin and Santiago de Compostela.
Limerick Early Music Festival concludes on Saturday 23 March at 8pm with The Fragrant Garden: from al-Andalus to North Africa in Saint Joseph’s Church, O’Connell Street.
Music and poetry from al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) continues to be played today in cities throughout North Africa, having been conserved and transmitted through the centuries by Jewish and Muslim musicians who were expelled from Spain in the 1400s. Limerick audiences will be transported to this golden age of Arabo-Andalusian culture, with Vanessa Paloma Elbaz, Zaki Chaabi, and Mustafa El Meknassi, performing Moroccan Nuba and Gharnati songs and Sephardi Andalusian liturgical poems and song—a fitting end for this three-day adventure across the diversity of Early Music.
"We're thrilled that LEMF, now in its fourth year, has become an annual musical rendezvous for lovers of Early Music,” said LEMF co-directors, Yonit Kosovske and Vlad Smishkewych. “We have strived, since our very beginnings, to be a place where old and new meet and play shoulder to shoulder.
“Ancient traditions, contemporary approaches, and music from many cultures all live side-by-side on our stages, attesting to how we strive to listen back, live in the present, and look forward to the future.
“We invite you to come journey with us at the Limerick Early Music Festival for a thousand years of music from North Africa to Europe—brought to your doorstep!”

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Added by KANDREWS on 11 March 2024

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