I know that I may loose half my audience when I tell you that the Marian Consort are a group from, broadly speaking, the classical music genre. I know that I may loose many more of you still (those committed atheists among you) at the mere mention of the fact that they are an ensemble group of singer's of early Christian music, (oh how thine eyes have been offended, be gone from my screen I hear you cry in moral indignation).
I do however ask you to be bear with me for a few short moments of your reading time because; above all else, part of Culture Journal Ireland's ethos is that no sound should be kept from a keen ear willing to experience new things.
The Marian Consort are a critically acclaimed early music vocal ensemble which has gained a reputation for bringing a freshness to music of early Christian and medieval worlds.
No more appropriate a venue could possibly be found perhaps for this performance during the recent choral music festival in Derry than Christ Church, the church of Ireland dwelling just metres away from the city's catholic cathedral, St. Eugene's. The church had been damaged in a callous act of vandalism some months back and having been lovingly restored with help from both sides of the community was now reborn.
It was a fitting setting for this performance. The varying range of voices filled the dwelling and breathed their magic upon the assembled crowd. It is only when you hear a choir with this reportoire that the listener can realise just what the human voice is capable of.
The night began with the group rendition of Stabat Mater an epic but gentle ensemble of voices, female blending in with male, interspersed with punctuations of mezzo soprano dramatising the otherwise peaceful melody echoing out amongst the gathering crowd; it couldn't help but bring a smile to the face. This was followed by a version of Ave María unlike any other that would be heard before. With female voice predominating intermingled with soprano (?) Sabat Mater, beautiful haunting melodies, bird like choir at the back of the church The set contained both the haunting and the melodic; the mesmerising and the uplifting.
With a tone and a range to turn the most cynical of ears spiritual, the Marian Consort truly is an experience to behold.