HANDEL, ARNE & FRIENDS

Saturday  June 19 2010 7.30 pm

 

St John the Baptist Church,Wellington, TA21 8SF

Musical Director Peter Leech, Lutes Lynda Sayce & organ continuo Jeremy Martin

Thomas Arne (1710-78) – Mass in G, O salutaris hostia, Poculum elevatum
William Boyce (1711-79) – O where shall wisdom be found
G.F.Handel (1685-1759) – Like as the hart

Maurice Greene (1696-1755) – Lord let me know mine end
John Travers (c.1703-58) – Jehovah reigns (Psalm 99)

James Nares (1715-1783) – By the waters of Babylon

William Boyce  ( 1711 – 1779) Turn Thee unto me (Psalm 25)

 

REVIEW BY PHILIP KNIGHTON

O where shall wisdom be found? An anthem by William Boyce but also the essence of a recital given by the Collegium Singers at St John’s, Wellington last Saturday evening. Not only wisdom, but insight into eighteenth century music and musicians associated with the Chapel Royal.

This was an impressive package. A display of rare music editions and a pre-concert talk by musical director Peter Leech set the scene, detailing the influences, friendships and animosities between the featured composers. The historic precedent of organ and theorbo accompaniment was explained and the scene set for a concert which was to widen our musical horizons.

Encompassing the music of nine composers, we were taken on a carefully structured journey ending with brilliance and originality. I had imagined that the combination of choir and instruments would give great clarity of part and line, but the real magic was revealed in the seamless blend of sound and the subtlety of the interaction, so much so that I visually had to check where some sounds were originating. This revealed a new dimension with more than a taste of authenticity.

James Nare’s ‘By the Waters of Babylon’ had a richness and inventiveness that stopped me in my tracks as did Battishill’s ‘O Lord look down from heaven’. The singers never faltered and here was treasure indeed. Lutenist Linda Sayce and organist Jeremy Martin’s contributions were of the highest quality and their solos added much to the evenings success.

So, a musical eye-opener which may inspire others to delve into the history of musicmaking and bring more treasures to light. So, where shall wisdom be found? Right here on our doorstep! My thanks to all.