Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Opus Anglicanum - Thaxted Festival

Five singing men and a reader, Opus Anglicanum specialize in “programmes” - themed collections of Words and Music rather after the manner of the BBC Radio 3 anthologies under that name.
Not the first time they've delighted Thaxted Festival audiences; their theme this time was The House, tracing the Manor from the Domesday book to lonely decline in the 20th century. Beginning with Hinton Manor, - a place called Locus Dei - which became a Priory before succumbing to the Dissolution. Other houses were referenced too, making this a generic rather than specific history. Titchfield Abbey, presented to Thomas Wriothesley – Call-Me-Risley in Wolf Hall – by Henry VIII; Wilton Abbey, Apethorpe and finally Trelowarren in Cornwall, with Lady Vyvyan living a lonely life of “death duties, dust and ruin”. All read with warmth and style by Radio 4 pin-up Zeb Soanes.
John Rowlands-Pritchard's sequence included some musical gems – Tallis, Dowland, Purcell, suiting OA's vocal forces, and this ecclesiastical acoustic, very well indeed. They began with Noel Coward's Stately Homes of England, in a witty, dramatic arrangement by Roland Robertson, included a patriotic medley from HMS Pinafore, and a rare Elgar part-song setting of Walter de la Mare, ending with RVW's Greensleeves.

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