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The Palestrina Choir had its origins in a boys’ choir formed in the 1890s by Dr Vincent O’Brien, then a music teacher at St Mary’s Place Christian Brothers School, Dublin. The choir and its gifted director first came to the attention of cultural activist Edward Martyn at an 1898 performance of Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli at the Carmelite church in Clarendon Street, Dublin. Martyn was born in 1859 to a family of Catholic landed gentry in Tulira Castle, Co Galway. He is perhaps best known for his involvement in the Irish Literary Theatre, later to become the Abbey Theatre, which he co-founded in 1898 with W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and George Moore. However, his interest in establishing a national theatre was matched, if not exceeded, by his interest in the reform of liturgical music in Ireland. During his university days he travelled extensively in Europe, where he was struck by the quality of the choirs he heard in the great cathedrals. He was determined that the Catholic Church in Ireland should have music of an equivalent standard. In particular, he wished to promote the music of Palestrina, which was espoused by Pope Pius X as a standard to which liturgical music should aspire. Between 1898 and 1902 Martyn worked to establish the choir at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, offering an endowment of £10,000 (in current terms about £800,000) on condition that Dr O’Brien was appointed choirmaster. The agreement was finally signed and the Palestrina Choir was installed in the Pro-Cathedral on 1st January 1903. In the century since its foundation, the choir has had seven directors.Blánaid Murphy, one of Ireland’s foremost choral directors, has been director since 2002. This evening’s choral repertoire is music which was written for the choir in recent years.

David Grealy, a native of Galway, is organist at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, having previously held positions at Westminster Cathedral, St Bartholomew’s Church, Ballsbridge, and Galway Cathedral. In 2017 he completed a Masters in organ performance at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Cologne, during which time he was also an organist in the church of St Peter & Paul, Ratingen, where he studied improvisation with Ansgar Wallenhorst, a regular performer in the Dún Laoghaire organ concert series. He is a first-class honours graduate of Maynooth University (2008), where he studied organ under Prof. Gerard Gillen, and where he currently works as a tutor. He was also recently made a fellow of the Royal College of Organists. David is in regular demand as an accompanist both in Ireland and abroad, and has featured in broadcasts for RTÉ and WDR (Germany).

Jean Langlais (1907-1991)

from Suite Médiévale (1947)

I. Prelude: Entrée

Eibhlís Farrell (b. 1953)

Two Marian Antiphons (2016)

I. Regina Caeli

II. Ave Regina Caelorum

Frank Martin (1890-1974)

Passacaille (1944)

Eoghan Desmond (b. 1989)   

O Sacrum Convivium (2018)

Jean Langlais

from Suite Médiévale

IV. Méditation: Communion

Kevin O’Connell (b.1958)

Aifreann (2018)

I. Kyrie

II. Gloria

III. Creidim

IV. Sanctus

V. Agnus Dei

Jean Langlais

from Suite Médiévale

V. Acclamations sur "Christus vincit"