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June 2019
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2007-02-21 The Celtic Tenors in De Meenthe

Interesting mishmash of classical and popular music
by Jurjen Tiesnitsch for Meppeler Courant


Steenwijk, de Meenthe. Event: Concert of the Celtic Tenors: Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson. Audience: 175


They once started out as tenors who played important parts in opera's, had various prominent parts in oratorio and participated in many classical concerts, but these three enthusiastic singers have since moved on to form their own ensemble, performing to the accompaniment of 'director' David Munro on piano and the very praiseworthy guitarist Martin Quinn. Their special guest was the charming Deirdre Shannon, whose warm voice and sometimes almost chanson-like songs touched the audience. In their 'selfish' program - which is a good thing in this case - they brought a fluent, varied mix of music to the limelight that gave the audience very little opportunity to get bored. They performed - with all due respect - a musical mishmash of songs, varying from the classical to the popular genre. Their somewhat informal, cordial presentation was very refreshing. Opera pieces from among others Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann and Verdi's La Traviata, Celtic folk songs and pop songs made this evening a fascinating experience.


Their humorous introduction - the first lines of which were in Dutch - immediately set the tone. The melancholic song about the red-haired girl and her pining lover, the wonderful play on words in the song about the Irish mad goat (gekke geit) that resorted to 'gekkigheid' (madness) - well done! Another song that made a great impression was that telling the true story of a little girl who died from a serious illness at the age of five. The song Angel of Mercy, with shrill and deeply touching chords, was sung during her funeral, as it was on this evening.

It was nice that one of the (folk?) songs they sang was reminiscent of a Dutch canon by J. Hullah, sung in the 1950s. This Trio turned it into a beautiful, highly recognisable song. The a cappella songs, sung with power and in perfect unison, were a feast for the ears as well.


After the interval, Caledonia (Scotland) was one of the most remarkable songs, sung to the magnificent accompaniment of Martin Quinn on guitar.


Deirdre Shannon's voice was most convincing while singing warm Irish songs, which are often characterised by melancholy. The programme was concluded with the well-known Time to Say Goodbye


The evening was characterized by warmth and authenticity, combining earnestness and humour. It was also a night which proved the importance of good PR.