A ROMP originally performed by teenage French choir members in the Middle Ages will be one of the central shows at this year’s Galway Early Music Festival which runs from Thursday May 14 to Sunday 17 and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
The Play Of Daniel was originally performed in the early 13th century by teenage choristers of Beauvais Cathedral and was a mixture of romp, drama, and spiritual quest. For the GEMF it will be staged by Andrew Lawrence-King and The Harp Consort, with the St Nicholas Schola Cantorum. Based on the biblical story of Daniel, the play features Belshazzar’s Feast, the Writing on the Wall, and Daniel in the Lions’ Den through rhythmic, often catchy choruses, with medieval improvisation, and expressive solos.
Also appearing at the festival will be Benjamin Bagby, who made headlines with his performance of Beowulf in Old English at the East Cork Early Music Festival and at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. He will perform sections of Beowulf for the show he will be bringing to Galway - Fragments for the End of Time.
Wind instruments - in the broadest possible sense of that term - will also be seen and heard at the festival. Trombone/sackbutt trio, Pandora’s Box, led by John Kenny perform music from the medieval to the contemporary. Kenny will also play on pre-historic trumpets as well with Simon O’Dwyer. There will also be an all-day trombone workshop.
The festival programme also features the ABC Baroque Club, a fun-loving music ensemble from San Francisco; and The Cello Goes Baroque, a harpsichord and cello concert, in collaboration with Music for Galway.
This year will also feature a festival hub with the Connacht Print Works holding exhibitions, talks, workshops, and a concert. For more information see www.galwayearlymusic.com