Thursday, December 20, 2012


Chelmsford Singers in Chelmsford Cathedral

A Christmas present from the Singers to the City, gift-wrapped in sparkling candlelight.
Spectacular it certainly was, thanks in large measure to the contribution of Westminster Brass, who gave us some splendid arrangements of seasonal favourites, from a medieval Pat-a-Pan to Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride, with party poppers obbligato.
They also played magnificent fanfares for Hark The Herald and O Come All Ye Faithful, in which the audience joined. We were also cajoled into the much more challenging Rutter arrangement of I Saw Three Ships, and then Wenceslas and The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The brass players, and percussion, were to the fore in the central work – Rutter's Gloria, with soloist soprano Beverley Lockyer, and beautiful playing from Jacob Ewens, this year's Organ Scholar. The Singers, under their new director, James Davy, gave a nuanced, energetic performance; they shone in three contrasting Peter Warlock carols, and in the gentle "wild card" – Sund's A Child Is Born, sung in the original Swedish.
A shmaltzy "White Christmas" and "A Merry Christmas" rounded off an enjoyable evening, innovative and refreshingly varied.
More innovation for Christmas 2013, when we're promised Duffy and Manning's Manchester Carols.

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