Review: Sung Eucharist at St Paul’s

Category: Music, General, Trips

St Paul’s Cathedral is quite simply awe-inspiring.  Opened in 1708 and designed by Sir Christopher Wren, Christian worship has been offered there for 1400 years and the building remains an iconic landmark within the City of London and beyond. 

It’s an intimidating place to perform.  Indeed, the large regular boys’ choir are trained to sing in a particular style in order to project the sound to good effect in such a space.  For visiting choirs, projection can be something of an issue, and moreover, perhaps, issues of ensemble.  It’s often difficult to hear fellow performers and one can feel uncomfortably isolated.  A tall order then, perhaps, for the Chapel Choir to contend with, given their usual performing space is so much smaller.
They were, however, certainly not overwhelmed and as the service progressed (unusually an evening Eucharist rather than Evensong to celebrate St Mark’s day) they clearly warmed to the task, most notably peaking in the Sanctus of Schubert’s Mass in G.  There was also a sensitive and well-crafted anthem in the form of Give us the Wings of Faith by Ernest Bullock, although St Paul’s Cathedral should, perhaps rethink the sense in conducting a collection in the performance, which was an unwelcome distraction. 

Jonathan Venn (C3 L6) and Lucy Hudson (EL L6) should receive particular awards for bravery in completing notable solos alongside the usual musical mastery, attention to detail and charisma of Choirmaster, Alex Hodgkinson.  Quite apart from anything else, this is a valuable London performance for the Choir in front of a large congregation and on this showing, a presentation for which Marlborough College should be truly proud. 

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director
Twitter: @MCol_Music

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