Review: Advent Carol Service

A spectacular venue; a sense of history and tradition; a dark, cold and damp evening; the written and spoken word; the candlelight; the time of year; and, for many, the worship of, and a sense of, something beyond.

Separately these are important, but the glue that bound them together on Wednesday evening was a stunning choir, singing stunning music, led with sophistication and panache.

The Advent Carol Service at Marlborough has always been anticipated with a sense of excitement and expectation and this year was no exception. The congregation was coaxed and drawn into the world of Britten, Tavener and Handel: what a wonderful idea to include three greats of British music, particularly poignant following the recent death of John Tavener. The significance of the inclusion of ‘A Tender Shoot’ by Otto Goldschmidt, who like Handel was a German composer who eventually settled in London, was not lost, and the thousand-year-old plainsong ‘O Antiphons’ drew us ever closer to our past.

Solos from Daniel Springate (SU U6), Sophie Chinneck (UH U6), Fernanda White (IH U6), Savannah Brown (MO U6), Natalie Evans (LI U6), Jack Culshaw (TU U6) and Ben Christopher (TU U6) added even more colour as did the exceptional accompaniment by College Organist, Ian Crabbe.

‘O do not move; Listen to the gentle beginning.’

Congratulations to the Chapel Choir and the Junior Singers – a unique and moving occasion.


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