Thursday, November 10, 2011


Writtle Singers in All Saints Church

The Fantasticks” now largely forgotten, save for the opening number, Try to Remember.
And this was the nostalgic curtain-raiser, in a gorgeous a cappella setting, for an evening of “Recollection” from the Writtle Singers, conducted by Christine Gwynn with Ed Wellman at the piano and the organ. Their sound has a remarkable clarity, with carefully shaped phrasing and dynamics.
It wasn't the only piece of light music – we also had Autumn Leaves, Lloyd Webber's Memory, the Berkeley Square Nightingale [with a nice period solo from Peter Quintrell], and to end a cheeky, Swinglish Lullaby of Birdland.
Two Renaissance versions of Jesu, Dulci Memoria, followed by a contemporary six-part setting, simple and accessible, by Paul Drayton. Stanford, Vaughan Williams and Elgar represented the late Romantic era, Peter Aston the present day [well, 1976].
Jenny Haxell was soloist in Cole Porter, and also in the glorious Dido's Lament, of Purcell, preceded by Peter Stickland's imagined account of the genesis of Nahum Tate's “Remember Me” text.
Martyn Richards' other readings included Laurie Lee's earliest memory, George Orwell's penniless time in Paris, and Marcel Proust's miraculous madeleine.

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