Monday, June 22, 2009

Opus Anglicanum

An overcast, increasingly chilly First Day of Summer, but there were strawberries and wine still at the Festival Club over the road in Clarance House, and a predictably wonderful programme from Opus Anglicanum.

LoveSong, their new anthology, devised by John Rowlands-Pritchard , began with The Song of Songs, included a look back to The Seeds of Love, as well as Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee's evocation of summer love in the country followed by The Honeysuckle and the Bee, with a clever botanical link to Marie de France's Chevrefoil. All the readings by the inimitable John Touhey.

Lots of early music – a lovely Rosa Bella by John Bedyngham – and two tombs: Larkin's Arundel reflection, and Catherine Dyer's My Dearest Dust. Ted Hughes rubbed shoulders with a dodgy American joke and Norfolk poacher Frederick Rolfe. Musically there was Holst, of course, and Vaughan Williams, and finally a heady blend of Burns and Shakespeare.

On Midsummer Day
500 years ago Henry VIII was crowned.
A nod to this anniversary, perhaps, in the encore, the greatest hit he never wrote, Greensleeves.

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