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Press Releases / Christ Church Cathedral Continues Celtic Celebration With New Anthem For St Brigid


St Brigid's Day at Christ Church CathedralChrist Church Cathedral, Dublin, celebrated St Brigid’s Day with the world premier of a new anthem commissioned by the Girls’ Choir. The cathedral choristers gave the first performance of ‘SBeannaithe Thú’, composed by Anne–Marie O’Farrell, at a Festival Bilingual Service of Choral Evensong yesterday evening (February 1). The anthem describes the life of St Brigid including some of her great miracles.

The commission, which was supported by Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise, is the latest in a series of new anthems in honour of Celtic saints. Anthems have also been commissioned in honour of St Colmcille, St Malachy and St Fin Barre recently.

Christ Church Cathedral’s Organist and Director of Music, Ian Keatley, says he hopes to commission more pieces in Irish.

“I am seeking to commission a new piece of music in Irish to celebrate as many of the Celtic Saints as possible, following the shape of the liturgical year,” he explains. “I aspire to ensure that music at Christ Church is, in the first instance of course, to the greater glory of God and to the spiritual needs of those worshipping. However, it must also be fundamentally relevant to, and in the service of, the cathedral community, its dioceses and the city of Dublin. We are very grateful indeed for the generous support from our friends at Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise.”

Dáithí Ó Maolchoille, Deputy Chair of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise warmly welcomes the cathedral’s initiative.

“We applaud Ian Keatley, Director of Music and Christ Church Cathedral for this new initiative that seeks to highlight the Celtic Saints in the liturgical year. Our growing annual calendar of services now includes services on these saints’ days in a number of dioceses. This is an initiative that will inspire and encourage others. Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise is delighted to be able to support this work,” he comments.

Composer Anne–Marie O’Farrell, who is also a non stipendiary minister attached to Sandford and St Philip’s Parish in Dublin, spoke of her inspiration for the piece.

“Writing a choral piece for St Brigid’s Day encouraged me to look at what we know of St Brigid and her spiritual leadership. There is a story of how, when she requested land on which to found her monastic community, she was told that she could have whatever land her cloak would cover, and her cloak miraculously spread across the Curragh in Kildare. To me this represents an image for the reach of her prayerful influence, even spanning across centuries and reaching us now. Brigid was known for her ministry to the sick and the dying, with several miracles attributed to her. Her name means ‘exalted’, and she was also called ‘Mary of the Gaels’. I was delighted to explore these themes for the fresh young voices of the new Christ Church Cathedral Girls’ Choir, with organ accompaniment from David Bremner, at the invitation of the Organist and Director of Music, Ian Keatley,” she said.

Christchurch Cathedral’s repertoire of new music in Irish includes the canticles, Cainticí Mhuire & Shimeon (Garrett Farrell), the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis (Simon MacHale), Amra Cholm Cille (Seoirse Bodley), Urnaí na Nóna (Caitríona Ní Dhubhghaill), An Nollaig (Simon MacHale), Bí, Íosa im’chróise (Felicity McElroy), St Fin Barre (David Bremner), St Malcahy (David Bremner), and the new commission in honour of St Brigid (Anne–Marie O’ Farrell).

Photo caption: Christ Church Cathedral Girls’ Choir with composer Anne–Marie O’Farrell, Dean Dermot Dunne, Dáithí Ó Maolchoille, Ian Keatley, David Bremner, Canon William Deverrell and Bernard Woods.

Category: Press Releases
Posted: Thursday 2nd February 2017
Added By: Lynn Glanville

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