at the Thaxted Festival
A hugely impressive performance from this youth choir – or rather choirs [Senior, Youth and Training] – well over a hundred voices, totally focused and tightly disciplined, singing, from memory, a generous selection of choral music from the Hebrew, African and American traditions, with, at the heart of it all, an assured performance of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, with the treble solo wonderfully sung by Thomas and Max.
The church was packed with parents, friends and festival-goers; the largest turn-out by far this season. Among the many highlights were the hypnotic processional, an a cappella Steal Away, an inventive arrangement of Elijah Rock, the seductive harmonies of Give Me Jesus, and the rousing final encore, Bernstein again, Somewhere.
Percussion is an important part of Cantate's work, and we heard the inspirational Paolo Cimmino leading the young musicians in a group of pieces.
These are not mature voices, but unusually, they were able to sustain the lines successfully, and held the interest of the capacity audience.
By the time you read this they will have finished their season with a concert in Paris – and the good news is that they'll be back in Thaxted for Christmas.