Invisible Stars – Choral Works of Ireland & Scotland

Reviewed on Wed 23 Mar, 2016

Under Desmond Earley’s gossamer-delicate direction, voices are beautifully blended and often bewitchingly luminous. Vocal solos are pristinely realised, the ensemble sound gilded and glowing.

For sheer beauty of sound and contemplative luxuriousness, this debut by the mixed-voice Choral Scholars of University College, Dublin is an altogether captivating experience. Lovers of elegantly crafted singing will find much to enjoy here in a survey of Irish and Scottish songs that also reaches across the Atlantic in the Appalachian-accented Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair. To say the whole is reminiscent in tone, temperament and execution of Irish a cappella ensemble Anúna is compliment enough (and hardly surprising given the group’s founder, Michael McGlynn, is a UCD alumni). Under Desmond Earley’s gossamer-delicate direction, voices are beautifully blended and often bewitchingly luminous. Gentle support is variously provided by cello (hauntingly so in Riverdance composer Bill Whelan’s melancholic Sun and Moon and Stars), oboe (Ivo Antognini’s serene Peace) and harp (Michael Rooney’s delectably reflective Land’s End) together with contributions from guitar and bodhrán. Vocal solos are pristinely realised, the ensemble sound gilded and glowing.
–Michael Quinn