Cantorum’s sell-out Christmas concert seems to have settled any remaining uncertainties about the move of this event to the new location of Holy Trinity Church, Cookham.
We were reluctant to alter the long tradition of a double Christmas concert performed on a Sunday afternoon and evening at Cookham Dean church, but the smaller venue was proving more and more unworkable as the concert developed. 2013 was the second year of change, not only of place but also of day—to the busy Saturday right in the middle of a hectic month. To everyone’s relief, it appears to have been accepted by a loyal and enthusiastic audience.
The programme was thoughtfully constructed by Music Director Elisabeth Croft around the theme of starlight and the manger. Particularly moving musical moments were in Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin (with the choir split apart, as it were, to reveal the antiphonal voices behind them near the altar) and in Rachmaninov’s lovely Bogoroditsye Dyevo. Also very well received were the all-female arrangement of Stille Nacht and (towards the light-hearted end of the evening) the all-male-voice rendition of White Christmas. But the whole programme, indeed, was a wonderful opening to the Christmas season. Many congratulations should go to Assistant Music Director Jozef Janik, here conducting us for the first time and with great success. And many thanks, also, to the excellent brass quintet (whom we’ve come to know as ‘Sounding Brass’) for their virtuoso Christmas medley and inspirational accompaniment to the communal carols.