Wednesday, February 27, 2008


John Rutter at Chelmsford Cathedral


John Rutter, Britain's most successful composer of church music, was in Chelmsford Cathedral last week to conduct his Canticle of the Heavenly City, commissioned by the Dean, Peter Judd, for Iffley Parish Church. It is beautifully phrased piece, sung here by the Cathedral Choir with accompaniment from harp and two flutes.

Rutter also conducted the last work on the programme, Parry's triumphal Blest Pair of Sirens. The Cathedral Choir were joined by the Consort and the Voluntary Choir, with a full orchestra, making an impressively joyful sound.

This unique event, which included performers from all the schools involved in the Cathedral's Choral Foundation, began with the orchestra, KEGS and CCHS united, under Tim Worrall, playing the Vaughan Williams English Folk Song Suite. These young players sounded wonderful in the Cathedral acoustic, with some impressive brass playing, and especially telling woodwind solos.

Cantatrici, a chamber choir from the County High School, directed by Felicity Wright, sang two all too brief pieces, Gibbons' Silver Swan and Stanford's Blue Bird - with piano accompaniment, for some unfathomable reason.

Robert Poyser conducted the Choir in Naylor's Voc Dicentis, with Charles Palotai and Matthew Butt as soloists, and the combined forces in Schubert's Mass in G; the Gloria and the Hosannas were particularly successful. The soloists here were Tom Robson, Isabella Gage and Simon Warne.

This was a superb showcase for the talent based around our Cathedral, and it was good to see it so well attended.

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