Monday, November 23, 2009

Incantato Concert Venue: Farm Street Church of the Immaculate Conception

The Cornelia Connelly Ensembles will commence their England and Ireland 2010 Performance Tour with a performance at the Farm Street Church of the Immaculate Conception as the featured guest choir for High Mass on Sunday, June 27. The celebration is followed by a concert.

This is a historic church that is an active center of Catholicism in the heart of London. For over a hundred and fifty year, Farm Street Church has held its reputation for spiritual and intellectual vigor, and many have regularly travelled quite a distance to worship and to seek the advice of the succeeding generations of priests who have served here.

There has been a strong musical tradition at Farm Street Church for well over a hundred years. Then the choir consisted of men, and boys drawn from local Roman Catholic schools. The period after the First World War saw the music reach a pinnacle of achievement, when the choir was under the direction of Fr John Driscoll SJ, later succeeded by Fernand Laloux. At this time the organist was Guy Weitz, a Belgian, who had been a pupil of Widor and Guilmant. Weitz was one of the finest organists, and organ composers, of his generation, and Farm Street Church has long been associated with excellence in organ playing. Weitz's most famous student, Nicholas Danby (1935 - 1997) suceeded him as organist in 1967. Danby's main achievement at Farm Street was re-establishing the choir in the early 1970s, follwing a period of change in the late 1960s, as a fully professional ensemble.

From the early 1920s until the 1960s the repertoire consisted of sixteenth century polyphony, as well as a wide variety of modern and contemporary music, much of this collected by Fr Driscoll. He was particularly skilful in setting religious texts to already existing music. Some of this unique repertoire is still heard at the liturgies in Farm Street.

Today, in the twenty-first century, the repertoire is still very varied and ranges from sixteenth-century Polyphony, the Viennese Classical composers, nineteenth century Romanics as well as a wide variety of twentieth century and contemporary music. Gregorian Chant also plays and important role in the worship.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Incantato Destinations: Straford-upon-Avon, England

Incantato Venue: Warwick Castle, England

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle in Warwick, England. It sits on a cliff overlooking a bend in the River Avon. Warwick Castle was built by William the Conquerer in 1068.

While here, you will be able to take a look around the grand interiors of the castle, as well as enjoy a tour of the beautiful Victorian Rose Garden or the Peacock Garden. You can even witness the world’s largest siege machine, try armed combat with the Warwick Warriors, or learn the skills of an archer.

Incantato Insider Ireland: "The Church" Restaurant in Dublin

A must-stop when visiting Dublin, the capital city of Ireland is the former place of workship, now stunning restaurant fittingly named "The Church".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

History of St. Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick is said to have passed through Dublin on his journey through Ireland. He is reputed to have baptised converts from paganism to Christianity in a well close to where the cathedral now stands. To commemorate his visit a small wooden church was built on the site, one of the four Celtic parish churches in Dublin. In 1191 John Comyn, the first Anglo-Norman archbishop of Dublin, raised this ancient church of Saint Patrick ad insula to the status of a cathedral. The present building, the largest church in the country, was erected between 1200 and 1270. Over the centuries as the elements, religious reformation, and persecution took their toll, the cathedral fell into disrepair, despite many attempts to restore it. Between 1860 and 1900 a full-scale restoration was carried out by the Guinness family.
The cathedral stands majestically as a memorial to our historic past. But it stands for much more. A historic cathedral such as this lifts us out of the realm of things and circumstances which change into the realm of things which are eternal and do not change. It gives us a sense of perspective both in space and time and it brings us face-to-face with our faith in God through Christ, who alone can give our lives true meaning and lasting satisfaction.