Festival, Saturday 27 June 2009
What a treat to attend this concert by Cambridge Voices, conducted by Ian de Massini. The first half, in St Cyriac's church, was more serious, and described as 'a sequence of anthems and motets in honour of Mary, the mother of Christ'. I particularly enjoyed the three versions of Regina caeli laetare, a beautifully-sung solo plainsong followed by two more complex choral settings of the same words. Composers from many centuries were represented, including Mendelssohn in his 250th anniversary year. John Rutter's beautiful Ave Maria, written in 2006, and Jonathan Rathbone's setting of Gabriel's Message, well known as a Christmas carol, provided an up-to-date finale.
The second half of the concert, transferred to St Mary's, concentrated on the final syllable of the title. Like the 'elephant ears'in La Dona e Mobile (listen to it if you don't believe me) some music will be difficult to take seriously in future. The tone was set with 'Comfort ye my people'from Handel's Messiah. There was never any compromise in the high quality of the music (if you discount an enthusiastic but lessthan- melodious plastic trumpet played simultaneously by the organist!) but the jokes kept coming, interspersed with more serious items from Fauré's Missa Brevis 'constructed'by Ian de Massini. I don't know the work well enough to be sure how much was Fauré and how much de Massini, but the result was very pleasing. We enjoyed a solo performance of The Derby Ram specially adapted to donate his tail as a bellringer's sally in Swaffham Prior. The final item on the programme was - wait for it - Happy We(e?). After much applause we were treated to an encore - a complex new piece to be performed at a formal Cambridge college function, which consisted of the names of the colleges, the order and frequency determined by the size of their bank accounts!
I wonder how the Maryloo fund is progressing - it would be good to be eager for the Red Lion because of the beer rather than the loo!