Thursday, November 14, 2013


Stondon Singers at Blackmore Priory Church

Music inspired by the natural world made for a pleasing programme from the Stondon Singers, conducted by Christopher Tinker.
Lively choruses from Haydn's Creation, linked by readings and including a robust Heavens Are Telling and a precisely delivered Achieved is the Glorious Work, provided a contrast with the pastel, pastoral tone of many of these settings. As did the playful Ballad of Green Broom, the last of Britten's Five Flower Songs.
Among the most enjoyable offerings were Elgar's gentle Torrents in Summer, William Hawley's evocative setting of Emily Dickinson's My River Runs to Thee, and the closing number, Stanford's much-loved Blue Bird, with Annabel Malton's pure soprano soaring above the nave.
This is a chamber choir, and they excel in the delicate madrigals, like Wilbye's miniature Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers. But they also rose to the challenge of the Haydn, Tinker's own Memento Mori, and Eric Whitacre's unaccompanied Water Night, with its intense, richly textured harmonies.
Michael Frith, the Singers' accompanist, contributed a fine Bach Prelude and Fugue on the venerable St Laurence organ.

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