A night to remember as music unites two cities
A tale of two musical cities was celebrated at the Guildhall in Londonderry last night, with a phenomenal fusion of two world leaders of classical music and poetry with a modern twist.
The acclaimed London Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Ireland united to celebrate together in Derry's newly refurbished majestic Guildhall for one night only.
Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the unique connection shared between the cities of London and Derry, Ian River of The Irish Society said that the collaboration, which was four years in the making, was a gift to the people of Derry.
A vibrant and varied programme showcased the rich historic, artistic and cultural heritage that is the continuing legacy of the union of the two cities that have often been at sixes and sevens with one another.
The large ensemble performed a mesmerising nine-piece movement documenting the often turbulent links with London.
Packed to the rafters with a varied audience, including clergy from all religious denominations and all ages from three years to 80, the sold-out performance had a challenge to accommodate everyone.
Although at times the singing was difficult to hear over the powerful music, the night surpassed all expectations and offered a potent blend of culture and fun.
Internationally-reowned master pianist Barry Douglas conducted the sensational music cantata, performed by soloists, choirs and specially commissioned community groups.
Douglas orchestrated with finesse and appeared totally at ease in his conducting role.
Camerata Ireland was formed by him as a means of bringing together musicians from across the north and south of Ireland, and their expert execution was a notable feature of last night's recital.
But if anyone stole the show, it was the children taking part, and their youthful exuberance was a real highlight of the night.
The contrast in their style to the classical melodious tones of the pitch-perfect Codetta choir, Music Promise Junior choir and harmonious soloists worked to remarkable effect.
The At Sixes and Sevens Ensemble – interspersing colloquialisms and rap – was upbeat, giving performances a light- hearted yet impactful tone. They received resounding applause and a standing ovation.
The combination of performances resulted in a powerful reminder of how far Derry has come.