Wednesday, November 08, 2017


A celebration of 20th century French Music
The Stondon Singers at St Michael and All Angels, Galleywood

St Michael and All Angels proved a good space for this collection of French 20th century choral music.
Not least for the Conacher & Co organ, re-sited in the recent restoration to the west end, with the console now in the south aisle. Seated at it, Laurence Lyndon-Jones, whose contribution was invaluable, especially in the Langlais Messe Solenelle, where the dramatic interventions from the organ were thrillingly effective, particularly in the Gloria. The choir, directed with scrupulous precision and attention to detail by Christopher Tinker, coped well with contrapuntal writing here, and with the more contemplative Benedictus which precedes the assertive Agnus Dei.
Duruflé was represented by his Four Motets, which, like the Requiem heard last week in Chelmsford Cathedral, are based on Gregorian chant; indeed, each is prefaced by a brief solo chant.
Messiaen’s O Sacrum Convivium, an unaccompanied communion motet, was performed with exemplary control, bringing out its ethereal textures and harmonic richness.
The programme was book-ended by two popular works: Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine, taken at a reverent tempo, with well-shaped choral dynamics.
And Poulenc’s lively Gloria, with two choir members sharing the soprano solos, and the organ tackling the fanfares, the strings and the clarinet of the more usual orchestral accompaniment. A triumphant end to an impressive sampler of very different styles, with the Singers relishing the expansively lyrical Rex Caelestis and the lush harmonies of the final Qui Sedes with its mystical, uplifting Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment