Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Canterbury

We travelled to Canterbury on Saturday for the opera, King but then stayed over so that we could attend Sung Eucharist in the cathedral on the Sunday. Because of the stage for the opera in the nave, 11.00am Eucharist was held in the quire; possibly the first time I've experienced a cathedral high altar being used for Sung Eucharist rather than the nave.


The mass was supposed to be Haydn's Missa Sancti Joanne de Deo, also known as his Little Organ Mass; its one that we sing at St. Mary's. The Benedictus consists of a sublime soprano solo with an elaborate organ accompaniment/solo, though as it is rather long we cut it. At Canterbury we go a rather more varied selection of movements from Haydn Masses; the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei came from the specified mass, the Gloria and the Benedictus came from other masses. These latter 2 movements were obviously chosen for the extreme brevity. That said, the performances with organ were some of the most successful that I have ever heard; I always think that church performances of Haydn and Mozart masses are difficult to bring off but Canterbury succeeded.


The highlight, however, was a luminous performance of Durufle's motet Ubi Caritas with a finely shaped opening alto line from the men of the choir.

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