The County connection was the cement holding this concert together. As we have come to expect from Christine Gwynn and the Writtle Singers, we were educated as well as entertained.
All the music had a specific link to Essex. The choir processed to the transept with Ward Swingle's take on Henry VIII: Pastime With Good Company, recalling not so much Beaulieu as clandestine trysts with Bessie Blount at Blackmore.
More secrecy at Stondon Massey, just up the road, where William Byrd wrote his setting of the Latin Mass, first sung in the safe seclusion of Ingatestone Hall. The Singers' Gloria grew in stature towards the end, while the Credo swelled to a wonderful affirmation of faith. The mass ended with an affecting, and beautifully judged, plea for peace.
Ralph Vaughan Williams' Mass in G minor for double choir was clearly influenced by Tudor church music, and it was lovely to hear it so soon after the Byrd. Some warm tones in the Gloria and Credo especially, with impressive solo work from within the choir.
Another obvious influence was folk music, and we heard Bushes and Briars, collected early in RVW's career, in the rural backwater of Brentwood.