Wednesday, July 09, 2014


The Stondon Singers at Ingatestone Hall

William Byrd was a frequent visitor to Ingatestone Hall, and to his patron the first Baron Petre. More than four hundred years on, he'd be slightly surprised, perhaps, to find the Hall still here, and lived in, and the eighteenth Baron in the audience for this concert.

War, the theme of Brentwood Arts Festival, is also still with us, of course, and Byrd's Civitas Sancti Tui, graphically depicting the desolation of Jerusalem, reminds us that nothing much has changed since the time of Isaiah.
A very different take on the battlefield in La Guerre, a highly coloured description of a French victory [in Italy, in 1515] by Jannequin, jingoistic avant la lettre, performed with relish by the Stondon Singers under Christopher Tinker.

Their a cappella polyphony sounded especially delightful in the panelled hall. Their themed programme, which also included Tallis, Victoria and two guys named Lobo, ended with an optimistic lollipop, one of Byrd's few secular works, the madrigal This Sweet Merry Month of May. 

for those not fortunate enough to be at Ingatestone Hall, or Stondon Church the previous week, here are The Kings Singers with two of the key works ...

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