Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Forte and piano

The high spots of last night's choral concert came in the first half, given a cappella by the Merton College Choir under Ben Nicholas (late of this parish). A taste each of Tallis, Victoria, Palestrina and Robert Parsons, followed by four Marian antiphons by four women composers. Of these, Kerry Andrew's Salve Regina stood out, though - as with Giles Swayne's Missa Tiburtina - I disliked the musical scrabble of "in hac lacrimarum valle".

80-odd voices in Gloucester Cathedral make a big sound, which is not always needed, in my opinion, for as subtle and mysterious a work as Duruflé's Requiem. Nevertheless, both chorus (three choirs combined) and soloists were magnificent. My photograph shows Ben Nicholas applauding organist Carleton Etherington, cellist Guy Johnston, mezzo Esther Brazil and baritone Nicholas Morton.

Not a good evening for Brazil though. I caught up later with the first half - it was enough - of their 7-1 defeat in the World Cup semi-final at the hands of the ruthless Germans: the crowd of 67,000 (mainly) stunned to silence.

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