Sunday, November 23, 2014


Writtle Singers at All Saints' Church

craftsman's art and music's measure
for thy pleasure
all combine
[Francis Pott – Angel voices]

Words and music carefully blended to mark the feast day of St Cecilia, patron saint of music and musicians.
The words came from Auden, once a friend and collaborator of Britten, and from Susan Tomes, who combines her career as a pianist with writing.
Sometimes the musician and the wordsmith were one and the same: William Byrd, whose Mass for Four Voices we heard, also wrote passionately urging everyone to take up singing - “It doth strengthen all parts of the brest, & doth open the pipes ...”. And Kodaly, an equally impassioned defender of music, was represented by Evening Song and Ode to Music – exquisitely sung by Writtle Singers directed by Christine Gwynn, with a wonderful wordless accompaniment under the melody.
The main work was JS Bach's Jesu Meine Freunde, an unaccompanied motet sung with a pure tone, precisely but eloquently phrased, with real dramatic power in the defiant “Trotz!” chorus.

Pour out your presence, O delight, cascading
The falls of the knee and the weirs of the spine,
Our climate of silence and doubt invading
[WH Auden – from “The Composer”]

stained glass image from Ohio:

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