Sunday, November 08, 2009


Writtle Singers at All Saints' Church


Allegri is a one-hit wonder these days, his Miserere eclipsing the rest of his Sistine output. His Mass – Che Fa Oggi Il Mio Sole – is based on a madrigal, and since this is the Writtle Singers, they researched and sang that earlier work first.
This Mass, with its glorious Sanctus, was the climax of an Italian evening, a fascinating blend of words and music, sacred and secular, including early love songs, Verdi's setting of Dante's Pater Noster, and an enthusiastic Baroque hunting song by Caldara, which we all sang as a round.
The Verdi might have benefited from larger forces, though the closing bars were very effective. The chorus, elegant in black and gold, coped impressively with the adventurous repertoire, encouraged and inspired by their director Christine Gwynne. I particularly liked the charming simplicity of Dormono le Rose, and the evocative Sera sui Monti, one of the few modern works in the programme, with its distant bells across the valley.
Martyn Richards' readings included Miss Garnet entering San Marco, and H V Morton exploring the Pope's garden and Michelangelo's wardrobe. The extracts were absorbing and made a relevant sorbet between the musical dishes on offer. But I might have wished for a variety of voices to match the range of the readings.
The evening also saw the launch of the Writtle Singers' third CD – Wroving – music from their travels on tour, not only in Italy, but also in France and Antwerp.

Dibedibedon [Adriaenssen] from Wroving, the new CD

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