Monday 4 September 2006

Edington Diary - Friday

Friday was our last day at the Edington festival. The day started slightly later than usual as there was no 9.00am Matins service (the Schola got the morning off). Instead Choral Matins was celebrated at 11.30am.

The consort sang the lovely Venite from Orlando Gibbons's Short Service. The Te Deum and Jubilate were more contemporary; Britten's Festival Te Deum and Walton's Jubilate. The Britten was interesting, it eschewed the usual bombast that I associate with festal settings of this text; there were some good solos from the Nave choir. The Walton was given a brilliant, rhythmically exciting performance by the Nave choir. The consort sang Gibbons's I am the resurrection and the life, a beautiful setting of the Gospel reading for the day.

For me, the highlight of the week was the music at the Friday evening Solemn Eucharist. Throughout the week, by getting to the church early (to get good seats) we had overheard Robert Quinney rehearsing the Nave choir, so we had a good working knowledge of Friday's music by the time the service came along. The mass setting was the James MacMillan mass, written for Westminster Cathedral. The Nave choir sang the Kyrie, Alleluia and Agnus Dei. Both the piece and the performance were stunning; its a very tricky work and I can't wait to hear it in Westminster Cathedral. The Consort kept the contemporary theme by singing Tippett's Plebs Angelica, another stunning performance. The Organ prelude was MacMillan's Gaudeamus in loci paci and the Voluntary was Durufle's Fugue sur le nom d'Alain, one of my favourite organ pieces. All in all a profoundly moving service.

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