Saturday, 13 November 2010


Here is Michael Gray's Review of our Gunpowder,Treason and Plot concert

Writtle Singers at All Saints' Church

As the nation celebrated Diwali – festival of lights – and the thwarting of the 5/11 terrorist plot, Writtle Singers presented a typically thought-provoking programme of choral music centred around that first Guy Fawkes Night.
Hundreds of flames burned in the church, which boasts a real chandelier, and more candles lit the way from the lych gate.
The music, structured around the perfect 4 part mass of William Byrd, Catholic survivor and protégé of the Petre family, also included Dowland and Peter Philips – a song of rejoicing for the accession of James I.
The mass, first sung by the Petre household in Ingatestone Hall, was sensitively interpreted here by the Writtle Singers under Christine Gwynn; I particularly admired the Credo, the carefully crafted power of the Benedictus, and the final Agnus Dei, sung in darkness before the altar rail.
Other of Byrd's works included here were Rejoice, Rejoice, with a fine solo alto, and Why Do I Use My Paper, Ink and Pen, inspired by the martyrdom of Thomas Campion.
The historical background, including Fawkes's own verbatim confession, was read by Martyn Richards. He reminded us that we do well to reflect, as the barrage of explosives echoes around us, how quickly the fear of difference turns into oppression and terror …