Tuesday 4 April 2006

Hampton Court

We spent the weekend staying in Hampton Court Palace thanks to the wonderful Landmark Trust who make available an appartment in the building, just off Fish Court in the Kitchens complex. So we availed ourselves of the facilities and attended 2 services in the chapel on Sunday morning. The choir of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court is directed by Carl Jackson, who played organ solos for me at a Chelsea Festival concert in 2000 (we interspersed my Requiem Mass with early English organ music).

For both the Sunday morning choral Eucharist and the afternoon Evensong we were lucky enough to be able to sit in the choir stalls, thus getting a good view of the service. The morning service was boys voices only, the mass setting was by Arthur Wills and was not a piece that I had come across before but proved rather effective in its use of the combination of boys and organ. It was accessible but with some rather interesting moments.

In the evening the men of the choir were joined by 4 women and sang Byrd's canticles, from his second service, plus the Tomkins responses. Wonderful music making in a venue which could have heard the music when it was new. The anthem was the stunning Blow Salvator Mundi, so contemporary in its dissonances and angular vocal line.

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