Wednesday 30 August 2006

Edington Diary - Tuesday/Wednesday

Sung Eucharist on Wednesday included William Harris’s Holy is the true light; we’ve had Faire is the Heaven at previous festivals so it was good to hear one of Harris’s other works. The Consort did strong justice to Byrd’s lovely Nunc Dimittis from the Gradualia. In the evening Evensong was recorded by the BBC for broadcast on Dec 27th, this meant that we had to pretend it was Dec. 27th including singing vaguely Christmas themed hymns, besides putting up with the paraphenalia of recording. Still, the festival finds the BBC fees extremely useful in balancing the books, it receives no outside grants.

An interesting co-incidence was that the first reading was from Isaiah chapter 6; I’ve just finished my setting of the entire chapter (slightly edited) for unaccompanied chorus, so the reading somehow felt mine. The music was suitable impressive. Thomas Tomkins’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis from the Fifth Service received a fine performance from the Nave choir with some excellent soloists drawn from the choir. The Consort combined with the Schola to perform John Sheppard’s magnificent 6-part motet Verbum caro factum est. The setting alternates polyphony with a fabulous high soprano part with plainchant – quite magical.

The consort and the nave choir combined to give a lively, crisp and infectiously rhythmical accuunt of William Walton carol (I said we had to pretend is was December 27th) All this time. The closing voluntary was a rather fun organ duet by SS Wesley.

Wednesday morning’s Sung Eucharist used Giovanni Croce’s Missa secunda: tertii toni sung by the Consort. It is an attractive, practical mass and its on the list of my suggestions for my church choir. (St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Cadogan St., Chelsea). The Nave choir sang Vittoria’s motet Lauda Sion with some excitingly rhythmic interplay between the two choirs. They also contributed Mozart’s Ave Verum.

The evening service was replaced by an afternoon one, broadcast live by Radio 3. This included the premiere of Antony Pitts’s Before Abraham was, I AM. Though we missed the service live, we did manage to catch up with it later thanks to the wonders of the BBC Radio 3 web-site.

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