Sunday, July 14, 2013


Writtle Singers at the Parish Church

This seriously enjoyable summer concert took its title from a sequence by Edinburgh composer Tom Cunningham to verses by Alexander McCall Smith. Philosophical musings on Ghirlandaio and Bruegel surrounded whimsical Waldteufelry for the one Scots painting, Raeburn's Skating Minister.
As ever, the evening was carefully curated round this theme, with work by the Writtle Art Group on display in the church. So we heard depictions of birds, dogs and flowers – Britten's Five Flower Songs, and Flora from an earlier East Anglian composer, John Wilbye.
Boats featured too: Debussy En Bateau, and, to conclude, Cecilia McDowall's intriguing Shipping Forecast, preceded by, what else, Binge's soothing Sailing By.
This versatile chamber choir relished the challenge of barking like Cerberus, babbling for Babel, and putting on speed to navigate the coastal waters off Newfoundland. The voices blended superbly in favourites like The Silver Swan and The Blue Bird, and, especially in the Cunningham, their enunciation enabled us to enjoy the poetry as well as the music.
The choir's director, Christine Gwynn, joined accompanist Caroline Finlay at the piano for a couple of Bizet children's games, and for a few of Francaix's interpretations of Renoir portraits of children, angelic, impressionistic little girls, but also a readily recognizable painful piano practice.

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