Diocese of Derry and Raphoe
5th June 2013
The Dean of Derry, the Very Reverend William Morton, recently announced the world premiere of Columba Canticles, an oratorio specially commissioned by The Culture Company and St Columb’s Cathedral as part of its contribution to the UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations.
The contemporary musical work – written by composer Laurence Roman and based on an award–winning poem by poet Sam Burnside – will be performed at a ‘Four Centuries of Song’ concert at the Cathedral on Sunday 9th June, with a second performance on Monday 10th June at Stormont Parliament Buildings, Belfast.
The performance will feature the combined choirs of the Universities of Ulster and Aberdeen, directed by Shaun Ryan – Lecturer in Music and Choral Director at the University of Ulster – and accompanied by the London Southbank Sinfonia.
According to Dean Morton, the commission commemorates a number of significant milestones in the Derry’s rich history: “Not only is Columba Canticles a major contribution by the Cathedral to the UK City of Culture 2013, it is a celebration of both the Cathedral’s and the City’s rich cultural heritage over the past 400 years.
“Amongst the treasures of St Columb’s Cathedral is a silver gilt chalice which is inscribed with the coat of arms of the City of London and words which translate as ‘To the Church of God in the City of Derry, the gift of the Londoners’. It is believed that this was given to Derry in recognition of its foundation as an Irish city.
“Coinciding with the 400th anniversary of this Promise Chalice being sent to Derry from the City of London, the premiere of Columba Canticles will also mark the completion of the entire restoration of St Columb’s Cathedral, and its ongoing contribution to the cultural life of the City of Derry,” he continued.
Composer Laurence Roman said: “Columba Canticles is a unique celebration of 400 years of Derry’s richly joyous, yet volatile history through music and verse. In setting Londonderry writer Sam Burnside’s award–winning cycle of poems, this oratorio explores the City’s vibrant past and will bring together the mighty forces of two excellent university choirs and a world–renowned orchestra for the first time in what will be a truly unique performance in the UK City of Culture programme.”
The ‘Four Centuries of Song’ concert will also feature work by Paul Mealor, the composer who rocketed to fame with the tender motet Ubi Caritas, written for the Royal wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011, and the Christmas number one hit Wherever You Are, famously performed by the Military Wives choir.
Tickets for ‘Four Centuries of Song’ are now on sale and are available from The Playhouse Box Office by visiting www.derryplayhouse.co.uk or calling 028 7126 8027.
[caption id="attachment_1501" align="alignnone" width="2832"] Pictured at the recent launch of Columba Canticles at St Columb’s Cathedral is Dean of Derry, the Very Reverend William Morton with Shaun Ryan, who will conduct the performance of Columba Canticles.[/caption]