Review: Choral Evensong

Sunday 8th May 2016

This was an ambitious and original undertaking, in which the ranks of the Chapel Choir were swelled by Old Marlburians and visiting singers from Lambrook School and the Children’s Choir of St. John the Divine, Kennington. 

Conducting duties were shared between Alex Hodgkinson, Martyn Ford and Ben Clark, all three of whom deserve great credit for both the hatching and the execution of this pioneering plot – each brought something new to the pieces that they conducted, keeping the singers on their toes and the listeners on tenterhooks. The constant in the equation was organist Ian Crabbe, with a typically faultless and stylish contribution from the console.

The initial impact of these joint forces was stunning, in terms of quality, tone and volume. Ayleward’s ‘Responses’ and Noble’s ‘Magnificat’ and ‘Nunc Dimittis’ all showed precision, tincture and definition. The anthem ‘Blessed be the God and Father’ by Wesley was particularly special, with a convincing contrast between the pure delicacy of the visiting younger voices and the persuasive power of the full choir.

It is to be hoped that there will be further joint ventures in the future. One very experienced Chapel campaigner described the event as ‘one of the most inspiring and wonderful occasions that I have experienced’. Certainly the enjoyment amongst singers of all ages was abundantly evident – definitely an event to lift the spirits.

Jonathan Genton

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