"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
TIDINGS OF JOY
OF JOY Chelmsford
Singers at Chelmsford Cathedral
Manchester Carols is a Christmas sequence for the 21st
century, written by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy with music by Sasha Johnson Manning.
just as at the Royal Northern six years ago, the composer was on hand
to sing the soprano solos.
twelve carols are linked by narration [Malcolm
Kimmance the reader], and together they re-tell the familiar myths
and legends, embroidered by the popular imagination, and often
strikingly vivid – the shivering shepherds and the glamorous
camels, and most poignant of all, Joseph wandering through trees, his
seeing their wood become cradle, coffin and cross.
carols are bookended by The Carol Singers' Carol and the unashamedly
populist Present Song – a catchy, bouncy number and, rather like
The Twelve Days of Christmas [also programmed here],
an eclectic list of gifts: armagnac,
frankincense, cardigans ...
music is tuneful and accessible, with colourful orchestral writing.
Sung with enthusiasm by the Chelmsford Singers, directed
by James Davy, and joined
by the red and blue jumpers of children from the Cathedral Primary
School and Our Lady Immaculate, the Chelmsford Sinfonietta [leader
Rolf Wilson] and baritone Robert Garland.
was also the soloist in a wonderful performance of Vaughan Williams'
Fantasia on Christmas Carols, with rich resonant sounds from the
strings and robust
choral singing. Plenty
more seasonal goodies for the packed Cathedral to savour – Davy's
Stokowskian setting of Adeste Fideles, Good King Wenceslas, Silent
Night and Britten's lovely New Year Carol:
you the West Door, and turn the Old Year go ...”