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Monday 19 March 2018

Joyful tribute to Bach

Deirdre Gilhawley

THE six-year-olds were unfazed by the weight of expectation as they filed into St Mary's Pro-Cathedral.

Youngsters ranging in age from six to 16 combined to perform 'The Great Passion' under the experience and direction of Blanaid Murphy on the 325th anniversary of his birth.

It was a rousing performance of one of Bach's most famous works was a fitting tribute to the famous composer.

For the first time in the history of the Dublin cathedral, three choirs and a double orchestra -- around 80 performers in total -- came together yesterday to deliver a hauntingly beautiful performance of Bach's 'St Matthew Passion'. The performance gave music lovers a rare chance to enjoy what is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical, sacred music.

What was even more remarkable was the young age of the children in the joint choral forces of the Palestrina Choir, St Mary's Pro-Cathedral Girls' Choir and the Dublin Bach Singers, along with the Orchestra of St Cecilia.

Antoinette O'Neill and Sean Mahon looked watched their son Louis (16) and daughter Ellen (12) took part in the event. "It's great to see them both taking part in such an amazing piece. They spend a lot of time rehearsing but never seem to mind as it's something they really enjoy," Antoinette said.

Brona Fitzgerald, leader of the Orchestra of St Cecilia, said there was "great excitement" about the performance and praised Ms Murphy for her "vast knowledge of these types of works".

And it was the first time that the Palestrina Choir, made up of around 25 boys and 10 men, had performed the 'St Matthew Passion'. Choir member John McKeown was "delighted to be performing one of the greatest masterpieces of the choral repertoire, especially because it is rarely done due to its size".

Irish Independent

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