By general consent, this was an outstanding concert. The programme of extremely demanding music was chosen for the choir by Music Director Elisabeth Croft.
In the first half, of ‘Old’ A Cappella items, the obvious climax was the very famous and popularMiserere, by Allegri, involving some seventeen minutes of musical dialogue (punctuated by plainchant verses sung by the men alone) between the main choir and a solo quartet. Special mention must be made of those fabulous top Cs in a stunning soprano line by Kirsty Janusz. The choir also divided for an earlier ‘echo’ piece by Heinrich Schütz: Psalm 100 Jauchzet dem Herren. The other first half items were SchützSelig sind die Toten, MonteverdiCantate Domino and VictoriaO quam gloriosum.
The best known piece in the second ‘New’ half was, of course, Tavener’sSong for Athene. Herbert Howell’s astonishingAntiphon was first item, however, and the concert concluded with four recent American choral compositions: Lauridsen’sUbi Caritas et Amor and Eric Whitacre’s extremely beautiful but very technically demandingThree Flower Songs.
The concert was rehearsed and conducted, during Elisabeth’s maternity leave, by the wonderful singer and conductor Samuel Evans. We were thrilled to work with Sam, and the audience was plainly delighted with the result.