Friday, 20 July 2007

Better late than never!


To the Albert Hall, with Monsieur Le Beard (Britain’s leading Science Writer) to attend Prom 6.
I held off writing a review till now as I worried that my musical criticism drifts to “splendiferous cathedrals of sound” end of the spectrum. It was a concert of ancient music based around the work of Lewisham’s finest Thomas Tallis and his contemporary Alessandro Striggio. The Guardian had hailed it as the Choral event of decade, blimey! I do like choral music (I think that if you don’t you are probably not human that means you the annoying necking teenagers in the next row).

The pieces where performed by the Tallis scholars who as well as singing had pleasingly a couple of celeb look a likes in their ranks an excellent Eamon Holmes Tenor and Ian Beale on organ! The main focus of the concert was a modern premier of lost 60 part work by strig. Lost for 500 years this piece was excellent, I particularly like the sections that were unaccompanied. This style of singing is greatly involving, the close harmonies causing resonances and beautiful cadences, made more startling when a lone voice rises out of the sonic mass™ and cuts clear through. The cajones of above tenor when he started a section on his own, to open your mouth and sing to the Albert Hall is very impressive. The piece was placed along side Spem in Alium (which always sounds like a Lancashire village to me) which was its usual delight.
Top marks to the supporting players His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts (tip of the top name) as well, the school boy in me has to applaud the huge 12 foot trombone and huge over sized bass lute. This was a late night prom (have an espresso before you go) which is great idea (it had the feel of an event at Edinburgh festival; you know that felling of “look at us with our late night decadent entertainment on this lovely summer evening vibe”). It’s on “listen again” for the next week have listen and see what you think.

Lastly I was reminded of Alan Bennett’s diary description of seeing “musicians on the tram home , looking slightly dishevelled” when I saw one of the choir on the tube reading a vocal theory book his Beatle boots badly cracked maybe a bit more of my £12.50 ticket price should go to the choir.

Ps. The plague for Tomas Tallis is 2 doors down for the one for aero designer Barnes Wallis not bad for the much maligned New Cross AY?.


Thomas Tallis died peacefully in his house in Greenwich in November 1585, and was buried in the chancel of the parish of St Alfege's Church. A couplet from his epitaph reads:
As he did live, so also did he die, In mild and quiet Sort (O! happy Man).

Striggio
Motet 'Ecce beatam lucem' (8 mins)
Lassus
Motet and Magnificat 'Aurora lucis rutilat' (11 mins)
Tallis
Spem in alium (9 mins)
Striggio
Mass 'Ecco si beato giorno' in 40 and 60 parts (first performance in modern times) (28 mins) *
Gary Cooper Organ (continuo)Timothy Roberts Harpsichord (continuo)BBC SingersTallis ScholarsHis Majestys Sagbutts and CornettsContinuo GroupPeter Phillips conductorDavitt Moroney conductor

3 comments:

Coventry Blogger said...

Wish I'd been there! £12.50 sounds like an absolute bargain.

Coventry Blogger said...

Should have said - it was lovely description of the event, not veering to the splendiferous at all!

BLTP said...

It was good, I do enjoy watching people sing, it can be quite moving. Classical audiences are very well behaved ,no camera phones, no chatter. and it's cheaper if you choose to stand or free on't radio hurrah!