‘Relief’ symphony to end Culture year

Liam O'Maonlai will perform at 'The Relief of Derry Symphony'.
Liam O'Maonlai will perform at 'The Relief of Derry Symphony'.

Derry’s City of Culture celebrations are set to reach an epic crescendo on December 20 when The Venue plays host to a special performance of “The Relief of Derry Symphony” by Shaun Davey.

This official closing concert of the 2013 programme is supported by JTI and will provide a rare opportunity to hear Davey’s epic narrative work, along with some of his most popular music of celebration including Newfoundland (from The Brendan Voyage), The Deer’s Cry, Fill To Me The Parting Glass, and also Noel Eccles’ fantastic Arrival of the Olympic Flag for massed percussion.

The concert is certain to provide a fitting conclusion to Derry’s highly successful tenure as UK City of Culture 2013 and, with a Christmas carol or two thrown in, will get seasonal celebrations off to a good start.

The Relief of Derry Symphony was originally commissioned by Derry City Council to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Siege of Derry in 1689 when the inhabitants of the city, in support of William of Orange, withstood the besieging army of James I.

First performed at The Guildhall in 1990, the music has since become known as the ‘Symphony of Peace.’

On December 20 next, more than 200 singers and musicians will perform on and around a massive, specially-constructed stage at The Venue, Ebrington.

The concert will feature many of the musicians who took part in the original performance.

Together with the Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Gearóid Grant, will be the 120-strong choir directed by Donal Doherty, the pipe band led by Pipe Major Iain Macdonald, with pipers and trumpets from the Derry community, and soloists Liam O’Flynn, Rita Connolly, Gerard McChrystal and Liam O’Maonlai.

Culture Company Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said: “This performance of ‘Relief of Derry Symphony’ is a fitting way to mark the conclusion of the 2013 celebrations.

“This concert promises to be an unmissable event displaying the best of local and regional musicianship.

“To witness Shaun Davey’s outstanding symphony being performed in its home city at the close of the City of Culture year will be a very powerful and emotional moment.”

Shaun Davey said: “It will be great to see the Relief symphony performed again, on an epic scale, where it belongs.

“The concert is designed to represent the end of a journey and I hope, apart from being spectacular and beautiful, that it will salute the powerful achievements and emotions in the City of Culture 2013.”

Tickets for the event, costing £26.50 including booking fee, are on sale now at www.millenniumforum.co.uk.