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Celtic Mass inspires the Crowds

“Celtic Mass” inspires the Crowds.

Review of Celtic Mass for the Sea performances by Von Markus Minten for the Ganderkesse Newspaper Monday March 19, 2007

The Canadian composer had almost gotten stuck in a blizzard. But with determination he succeeded in attending the first performance of his Mass in Germany—and even took part in it.


If the venue for the performance had not been the ancient Cyprian- und Cornelius Church, those in attendance at the “Celtic Mass for the Sea” would have been tempted to dance to the Irish sounds. However, they controlled themselves. But there was hardly a foot that didn’t tap to the beat. Hardly a foot that didn’t kick to the beat when the soloists Franziska Urton (fiddle), Johannes Shiefner (Uilean Pipes), Irina Zerkly (Harp), as well as Jens Kommnick and Scott MacMillan on Guitar, shaped the Irish tunes of the Mass.

In particular, all eyes were focused on the composer from Halifax. And he fulfilled all expectations. Not only did he take over both guitar parts but he also decided to direct the two encores (?) himself.

In fact, Macmillan did not have a chance to check out the choir and the orchestra. A severe snow storm in his Canadian home land had almost prevented this first visit by the musician that was made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts. He arrived in Ganderkesee in the nick of time. With him was also Jennyfer Brickenden who wrote the text for the Mass, which MacMillan originally composed in 1988, but which did not see a performance in Germany until 2006—also by the Osnabruecker Vokalharmonie and the “Orchester Pro Musica”, which yesterday both performed convincingly.

It was not only the mayor of Hude nor Patron, Axel Jahnz,  who were inspired by the Mass which is based on a 600 year old, but still very relevant, observation by Saint Columba that, “Those who trample the earth, do so on themselves”. The composer himself was also very satisfied. And the audience? They showed the extent of their inspiration by giving him a standing ovation.

Today there will be an additional opportunity to experience Scott MacMillan live: at a recital at 8pm in the culture centre of Hude.