Stage Magazine UK
The following review of Anúna's
London concert in April 1997 appeared in
St James's Church, Piccadilly,
Review by Graham Gurrin
Full marks to Michael McGlynn
for both stepping back from Riverdance and turning down Michael
Flatley's request to join Lord of the Dance, and concentrating instead
on putting Anúna back on the concert platform. Anúna is a
group of nine men and nine women who sing a mixture of traditional songs
and religious and Medieval texts in exquisite harmonies arranged by McGlynn.
As well as having a beautiful voice himself, he has also managed to encourage
some 80 singers through the group since it began in embryonic form at Trinity
College, Dublin ten years ago.
Christopher Wren's glorious 17th Century
building in Piccadilly was the perfect venue for the group's first headlining
London performance. In song after song they displayed not just the ability
to hit the right notes, but also to achieve that exquisite blend of dynamics
and tones that sets the hair on the back of the neck tingling.
There were many highlights, such as Quis
est Deus, during which the men sang a bass drone standing in a
line before the altar, back-lit, the women walking slowly around the church,
candles lighting their faces. The effect was extraordinary, both aurally
and visually. Jerusalem - not the Blake hymn - was another
set-piece. The women sang alone, walking around the church, and singing
out of time with each other - heterophony - and the mixture of skill and
beauty was rewarded with tumultuous applause. It sounds heavy, but McGlynn's
amiable and light-hearted introductions kept the mood elegantly uplifting.