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Tarik O'Regan: Acallam na Senorach; An Irish Colloquy / Stewart French, guitar

Notes & Reviews:

Paul Hillier leads the National Chamber Choir of Ireland and guitarist Stewart French in the world premiere recording of Tarik O'Regan's Acallam na Senórach: An Irish Colloquy. Sung in English, Middle Irish and Latin and calling for sixteen voices, guitar and bodhráin (Irish frame drum), the score takes its title from the important 12th/13th-century narrative Dialogue of the Elders, which follows two legendary heroes, Caílte and Oisín, in their travels around Ireland as they retell their ancient stories to a newly arrived Saint Patrick.

The Irish Times
O'Regan's 62-minute work is in a slow-moving, pared-back style, mock-ancient you might say, but not ethnically specific. It's almost ritualistically purposeful in its concentration on narrative, as it shifts between monodic delivery and a range of soft choral dissonances...The performance under Paul Hillier is first-rate

The Independent
Led by Paul Hillier, the National Chamber Choir of Ireland negotiates dissonance and harmony with drama and nobility, never endangering the piece through pomposity - a delicate balance aided by the sparseness of the guitar.

The singing itself is as spot on as you would expect from the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, who were responsible for commissioning the work in the first place. Aside from the sheer quality of their overall sound, there's a lovely sense of intimacy and wonder-filled narration. All told, this is yet another beautiful Tarik O'Regan disc

International Record Review
Simply said, O'Regan's work is an achievement. One does not feel that one is hearing a musical performance. Instead, it is as if the listener is party to a legend's retelling... This is also an achievement for Paul Hillier and the National Chamber Choir of Ireland... Frankly, choral singing this intense and controlled is rather intimidating, if not downright scary... This requires work from the listener, but is it worth the effort.

Gramophone Magazine
O'Regan reveals that he is capable of sustaining interest over what amounts to a 60-minute time frame... a highly effective and, in places, inspired piece, beautifully delivered by Paul Hillier and the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, and cleanly captured in this fine Harmonia Mundi recording.


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