"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Singers at the Parish Church
Singers celebrated Britten's 100th – and the feast of St
Cecilia – with a concert which paired him up with Henry Purcell,
his great predecessor and artistic influence. Thou knowest, Lord, the
secrets of our hearts, written for the funeral of Queen Mary, made an
atmospheric opening to the second half, sung unaccompanied behind the
audience at the west end of the darkened church.
A Jubilate from
each man – Britten's with an intricate organ part [Laurence
Lyndon-Jones], Purcell's with some excellent solos from within the
choir, including Gavin Oddy's authentic alto.
And two Britten
Hymns – the Hymn to St Cecilia, words by W H Auden: “appear and
inspire”, and the Hymn to the Virgin, the choir divided east and
continuo with Lyndon-Jones was cellist Alastair Morgan, who also
gave, from memory, a stylish performance of Britten's first cello
suite; not easy listening, and a huge technical and interpretative
challenge for the performer. Morgan brought out the colourful heart
of the music, especially in the dreamy Lento and the dramatic
programme, sung with confident conviction under Christine Gwynn,
concluded with the Choral Dances from Gloriana, an opera written
sixty years ago for the Coronation.