€2k prize on offer for Cork church's organ competition

€2k prize on offer for Cork church's organ competition
The organ at Cork’s landmark St Fin Barre’s Cathedral

A €2,000 prize fund has been announced to encourage composers to write new sacred music to mark the 150th anniversary of Cork’s landmark St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

The city’s Church of Ireland community is planning several commemorative events next year for the anniversary of the current William Burges-designed Gothic-revival three-spire building - an iconic symbol of the city.

But the cathedral’s director of music, Peter Stobart, has announced details of its composition competition.

The prize fund is for the commission of a new set of Evening Canticles, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, to be written for the cathedral choir, which has part of the city's culture and tradition since 1328, and its recently restored 3,000 pipe organ, which is considered to be one of the finest pit organs of its type.

The service of Evensong forms a central part of the Anglican tradition and is sung twice a week in the cathedral, at 6.15pm on Fridays and at 3.30pm on Sundays during choir term time.

Mr Stobart said it is fitting that the commission is for music to be sung at that service. The deadline for composers is 5pm on November 29 next.

The winning work will be recorded by the choir and organ on CD early next year, and launched in September 2020, before it's premiered during a special service in November 2020.

Although the cathedral, dedicated to the patron saint of Cork, is built on ground which has been a place of worship since the 7th century, the current building was completed in 1879.

The architect Burges won a competition in 1863s for his design for a replacement building for the existing cathedral, even though he ignored the £15,000 budget. It's estimated the finished building cost more than £100,000 - more than €12.1m in today's money.

The composition competition details are available on the cathedral website.

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