Christmas Capital Connections

at Minchinhampton Church on 14 December 2013

A Review by Pauline Thomas - Thanks Pauline

Minchinhampton Church provided the perfect ambience and acoustic for the Christmas concert given by the Cappella Singers, together with the Ensemble of Cornetts, Natural Trumpets and Sackbuts led by Adrian Woodward. Adrian is the musical director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and a renowned exponent of early music and trumpet-related instruments. The evening’s programme of music was selected by Cappella Singers’ musical director, Philip Colls, featuring pieces from European capitals of the 16th and 17th centuries. In a nice modern twist to this musical journey, the excellent and informative programme notes were written on a Eurostar train between London and Brussels. From the opening moments of this Orlando Gibbonsconcert the combination of voices and instruments was thrilling, and well balanced. The journey opened in London with music by Thomas Weelkes and Orlando Gibbons, with excellent solos by Kenneth Roles in “Alleluia! I heard a Voice” and Rob Walters singing
“This is the record of John.”.

The Sanctus from the Missa Ave Virgo Sanctissima by Gery de Ghersem was a rare treat. Ghersem was prized across Spain and Portugal but much of his work was lost in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake – happily this piece survived. One of the highlights was the opening item of the second half, Resonet in Laudibus by Jacobus Handl, where voices and instruments were perfectly complementary.

Among the instrumental pieces in the concert it was interesting to hear Es ist ein Rose entsprungen, more usually heard in a vocal setting. I also much enjoyed Daniel Speer’s Musikalisch Turkischer Michael PraetoriusEuelen-Spiegel written in Goppingen Germany, dating from 1688. The music of Michael Praetorius led us to, perhaps, the least well-known of the cities, Wolfenbuttel, where he worked in the Ducal Court, with a prodigious output of music for Lutheran worship. We heard two of his settings of In Dulci Jubilo, the second of which drew this enthralling music journey to a close. The combined forces of singers and instrumentalists, with their period instruments, was marvellous, and delighted the audience. We look forward to the next combined journey.

The Cappella Singers have a busy programme of concerts planned for 2014, including Horsley Church in March, Gloucester Cathedral in May, and a return visit to St Cyr Stonehouse for a Concert with a watery theme, in support of the restoration work done on the adjacent Canal.

Pauline Thomas

The Cappella Singers: Registered Charity no 262530