Carlisle Memorial to host Cappella Caeciliana's Cathedrals of Sound

Cappella Caeciliana performed at Clonard Monastery in April.
Cappella Caeciliana performed at Clonard Monastery in April.

BELFAST choir Cappella Caeciliana, which celebrated its 25th anniversary with 'virtual' events during Covid-19 lockdown is now back in full swing with live performances. Its first concert with new musical director Matthew Quinn took place recently in Clonard Monastery in front of a large audience, and was highly acclaimed.

On Sunday June 19 the choir will present its second concert with Matthew Quinn - a feast of gloriously uplifting music for a midsummer's evening.

The venue is the landmark Carlisle Memorial Church, at Belfast's Carlisle Circus. Carlisle Memorial's brilliant acoustic, which is helped by its completely bare walls and absence of any furnishings, will help the choir raise the roof of this magnificent building with a wide variety of rich sounds.

The first half of the concert includes a selection of short items, including the famous Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré and a cello solo played by David McCann.

After the interval, the choir will be joined by a 15-member wind and brass orchestra in a performance of Anton Bruckner's Mass No. 2 in E minor.

Carlisle Memorial Church has been a landmark in north Belfast since its opening 1876. Formerly home to one of the largest Methodist congregations in the city, it closed for worship in 1982 due to the impact of the Troubles.

Derelict for many years, the church is now owned by Belfast Buildings Trust who have undertaken partial restoration and have exciting plans to return the building to its original glory.

This is a great opportunity to visit the church, which is only occasionally open to the public, and experience beautiful music in this unusual setting.

The performance of the Bruckner Mass in Carlisle Memorial is particularly appropriate as the composition was premiered just seven years before Carlisle Memorial was opened.

The first performance was given in the partly-constructed Cathedral in the Austrian city of Linz, at the time a bare and hugely resonant space just like the current Carlisle Memorial.

The Mass has been described as a 'Cathedral of Sound' - this provides a further connection with Carlisle Memorial, the building having been informally known in its heyday as Belfast's 'Cathedral of Methodism'.

:: Tickets for Cappella Caeciliana's June 19 concert – entitled 'Cathedrals of Sound' – at Carlisle Memorial Church cost £20 (£10 for students and under-25s). Interval wine and soft drinks are included. More information, and online booking, is available at caeciliana.org. Tickets are also available in Matchetts Music, 50 Wellington Place, Belfast.