Monday, 18 April 2011


Music of Light – The Writtle Singers at All Saints' Church12.03.11

This satisfyingly ambitious programme was one of the Singers' best. It began with plainsong – a form older than the building in which we were listening – with the choir processing to the four corners of the nave. Here they gave an impressive performance, from memory, of the challenging twenty-first century motet O lux beata Trinitas, a setting of words by St Ambrose.James McMillan's Missa Brevis was the central work. Again, beautifully delivered, especially in the closing Agnus Dei, with its finely grained Miserere and its movingly humble Dona Nobis Pacem.There was Bach, too, Brewer and Bairstow, whose I Sat Down Under His Shadow had a lovely diminuendo at the end.Simon Harvey was at the organ – as soloist he gave Fireworks by Handel, and joined the Singers' inspirational director at the piano for a light-hearted duet from Fauré's Dolly Suite.Secular music to finish, though in the lovely Saint-Saens Calme des Nuits it was really only the words that were secular. Not so in the delicious luminescent lollipops - On the Sunny Side of the Street and I'm Beginning to See the Light - sung with the same passion, the same precision, as the Holst, the Wood or the Rutter.

Michael Gray

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