Musical Magic

A feast of orchestral and choral gems

15 June 2024 | 7:30pm
Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast

Proceeds in aid of Down Cathedral Organ Restoration Appeal

The highly acclaimed American pianist Gustavo Romero has been visiting Northern Ireland annually to give some superb Sunday afternoon recitals in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick. He is a renowned international artist and has performed in many prestigious venues all around the world.

After last year’s recital he asked Michael McCracken, Director of Music in Down Cathedral, if a larger musical event could be organised in Belfast this year.

This is essentially how this concert came to be created and we can’t wait to delight you with our programme.

The central item on the programme is the very much loved Second Piano Concerto by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov. This will be contrasted with Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia, a work which inspired his momentous Ninth Symphony ‘Ode to Joy’.

An augmented Cadenza Choir will perform many classic favourites from Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’ to Gershwin’s ‘I got rhythm’.

Two of Down Cathedral’s Choral Scholars – Lisa Dawson and Sionán Mullan – will appear in solo and duet. One of the province’s leading organists, Gareth Lewis, will play the ever popular sparkling ‘Toccata’ from Symphony No. 5 by the French composer Charles-Marie Widor. Gareth, who has been involved with Cadenza for many years, will also be the piano accompanist.

The Orchestra (led by Julie Bell) is made up of some of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians and has been specially recruited for this event.

The full programme is noted below.


First half

Zadok the Priest, George Frederic Handel

The Seal Lullaby, Eric Whitacre

The Blue Bird, Charles Villiers Stanford

‘Palladio’ (Allegretto 1st movement), Karl Jenkins

I’ll make Music, Karl Jenkins

The Ground, Ola Gjeilo

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Op. 18, Sergei Rachmaninov

Second half

‘Toccata’ from Symphony No. 5 in F, Charles-Marie Widor

I got rhythm, George Gershwin

Ev’ry time I feel the Spirit (Spiritual), arranged by Bob Chilcott

Piano Music played by Gustavo Romero

And so it goes, Billy Joel arranged by Bob Chilcott

O Salutaris Hostia, Ērik Ešenvalds

Choral Fantasia Op. 80, Ludwig van Beethoven

Buy tickets here

Proceeds from the concert are in aid of the Down Cathedral Organ Restoration Appeal. In the video below you can watch and listen to Jack McCabe introduce himself as well as Down Cathedral’s very fine instrument.

Discover more about Gustavo Romero in this documentary film produced by The Snapshots Foundation.


Musical Magic