LIVE REVIEW

Wilson fails to click but Anúna has them standing in the aisles

By KEVIN POWER

Choral Festival Review

Evening Echo Saturday 30th April 2005

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PEOPLE who can't get enough of a good thing got their just deserts last night when they had the chance to commute from one Cork cathedral concert to another. St Fin Barre's Cathedral hosted the National Chamber Choir in a concert of contemporary European choral music, as part of this year's Cork International Choral Festival, The programme, focused on works by living composers. The National Chamber Choir are technically superb and there was no doubting their attention to detail.

However, the programme, which contained a world premiere of two poems from Almanac by Ireland's James Wilson, suffered from an over-emphasis on vocal fireworks. While the vocal skills on display were breathtaking, the music itself did not generate any real warmth. The standing ovation at the end may well have been for the choir rather than the music itself.

In contrast; the later concert given by Anúna at the North Cathedral combined warmth, wit, subtlety and superb vocal skills. It may seem unfair to contrast these two concerts, but it must be said that the rapport Anúna established with the audience from the first magical moment was in marked contrast to the somewhat distant tone of the National Chamber Choir. Anúna also received a standing ovation and one felt that here there had been a connection between the audience and performers.