Thursday, December 29, 2011


at the Priory Church of St Lawrence Blackmore

Today the Christ is born Hodie Christus Natus Est bracketed this Yuletide concert, in two very different settings: the late Renaissance richness of Sweelinck and the devoutly lyrical Poulenc.

Between these two, we heard Britten and Part [the end of his Magnificat finely judged], two lively pieces by Imogen Holst, and a seasonal selection from Handel's Messiah: "For Unto Us" particularly successful in this chamber version.

The centrepiece was the glorious polyphony of Thomas Tallis Videte Miraculum. From the 20th century two new favourites: Rutter's What Sweeter Music, and Kenneth Leighton's gentle lullaby, with a beautiful soprano solo.

Michael Frith was the organist, Christopher Tinker the conductor, and we also heard a reading of Clive Sansom's moving poem The Innkeeper's Wife: "The world is a sad place, But wine and music blunt the truth of it."

Before the mulled wine and mince pies, their traditional Silent Night, sung at the back of the Priory Church, to send us out inspired into the dark lanes of Jericho.

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