At Sung Eucharist on Thursday, the organ prelude and closing voluntary were 2 attractive pieces embarrassingly unknown to me, the Introit and Sortie from Malcolm Williamson’s Mass of a Medieval Saint. The mass setting was plainsong Mass I and the Nave choir performed For he shall give his angels from Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Quite apt for the theme of the service (I am the good shepherd) and the choir sang beautifully, but as ever I was not quite convinced by the organ replacing the originally orchestral accompaniment. The Nave choir also sang a lovely The Lord is my Shepherd by Sir Lennox Berkeley. The Consort sang a fabulous O Sacrum Convivium by Guerrero. They also did an amazing piece by Edward Naylor (1867 – 1934); he was evidently organist at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and studied at the Royal College of Music. His motet Vox dicentis: Clama was evidently written in 1911. (This information gleaned mainly from Wikipedia, apologies if its inaccurate). The motet is a setting of Isaiah chapter 40, it is a fascinating and it received a superb performance from the Consort, though I suspect it was written for a bigger choir. I can’t wait to get a recording!
Evening service was a sequence of music and readings given by the Schola and the Consort, the Nave choir had the evening off. Highlights included Sir John Tavener’s The Lamb and the Agnus Dei from Poulenc’s Mass. The plainchant hymn Congregati sunt was lovely, though the plainchant Ave Verum Corpus was taken so slowly, it was almost romantic (perhaps it is). After Compline the Festival said goodbye to Andrew Carwood, who had to dash off to another Festival and his place at the head of the Schola was taken by Matthew Martin who had been playing the Nave organ all week.
This was the last day at which we went to the 9.00am matins sung by the Schola as there was no service on Friday. This service took place in the chancel, the remainder of the services taking place in the Nave. We managed to have the same seats each time, in front of the screen next to the choir organ. This meant we had a good sight/sound of everything and even got to hear the clickety/clack of the organ mechanism – very authentic and atmospheric.