Category: Reviews

TV & Radio Pick of the Season

The Greatest Story Ever Told BBC 2 Sat Dec 19, 9am (1965) Max Von Sydow. From his lowly but venerated birth through his adult years as a teacher roving the Holy Land, Jesus attracts admirers and enemies unlike any man before. Sweeping cinematic retelling of the life of Jesus Christ. In concert: The King’s Singers…

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Young musicians show there is a bright future

Writing about the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition bursaries last time round, I ran out of space before alluding to another competition – the Top Security Frank Maher Classical Music Awards – held in October. This has been an annual event since its establishment in 2001 by Emmet O’Rafferty, Chairman and CEO of Top Security,…

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Christmas Books

This has been a strange and difficult year for publishers, large and small. As religious and spiritual books come largely from small firms, they have been hit very hard. With lockdown across their main markets closing bookshops, online purchases, click-and-collect, and special localised deliveries have been the trend. So sales do go on, but many firms…

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Thinking about the universe

A theory of everything (that matters): A short guide to Einstein, Relativity and the Future of Faith by Alister McGrath (Hodder and Stoughton, £14.99) Christopher Moriarty Last year saw the celebration of the centenary of the validation of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. An event of the utmost importance to science, the observations of 1919…

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The meaning of Christmas customs

Christmas Tradition, Truth and the Total Baubles by Nick Page (John Murray Press, £6.99) The contents of this book may seem very familiar to some readers, for every Christmas articles and books appear about the traditions of the Nativity and the events surrounding it. Nick Page, who is an agreeable yet well-informed writer with an amusing…

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Kevin Barry, a legend of the revolution

Yours ‘Til Hell Freezes: A Memoir of Kevin Barry by Síofra O’Donovan (Currach Books, €19.99/£17.99) A century ago Kevin Barry became an icon of the republican movement. The ballads on his life and death were particularly popular among Irish expatriates. One of them even became part of Paul Robeson’s repertoire in the 1930s. His status derived…

Voices of the silent minority

Different and the same: a folk history of the Protestants of independent Ireland Deirdre Nuttall (Eastwood Books/Wordwell, €25) Ian d’Alton This illuminating book is about “the stories of the ‘old’ Protestant communities of independent Ireland and how these stories have justified feelings of belonging, entitlement, estrangement, marginalisation, and more in the context of a State that…