Having not heard this normally excellent body of singers for a while, it was nice to hear them still in resounding voice in music that suits them: Finzi’s Lo! The Full, Final Sacrifice.
It had occasional, momentary ensemble mishaps and there have been more eloquent renderings, but there was no doubting the sincerity of the singing, nor in Bob Chilcott’s Canticles of Light, three settings of ancient Latin hymns.
On the evidence of this performance, it didn’t do an awful lot for this pair of ears – musical language of considerable expressive power, the eyes have read somewhere.
It sounds to have a mixture of stylistic musical elements in the language: plainsong and close harmony technique (Chilcott’s King’s Singers’ years rubbing of on him?) were evident, but the fusion doesn’t – or didn’t here – add up to substantial expressive power.
Invocations to God for protection through the night and renewed strength for the new day, the pieces have a certain atmospheric quality helped by the use of tubular bells and are grateful to sing with no undue technical difficulties.
The pre-interval half of the concert had Palestrina’s Missa Aeterna Christi Munera somewhere in it between much walking about, four solo plainsong hymns, three organ interludes, Victoria’s four-part Ave Maria setting and Byrd’s of Ave Verum Corpus.
Apart from wondering which the debut-making Chamber Choir was, the one off left of audience or the smaller one traipsing up and down the spiral staircase to the small Lady Chapel, the kindest thing is to draw a veil over both the physical and much of the musical performance.