In May 2023 the choir visited Somerset and put on three concerts, culminating with a lunchtime recital in Wells Cathedral.
Here are videos of us singing:
After singing there, we sang in the medieval Chapter House.
David Green writes:
The Renaissance Choir didn’t let the side down and were well supported on the last leg of their short tour of Somerset.
The slow-moving calm of some choice Victoria and some more celebratory Palestrina led to Bogoroditse Dyevo, a reprise of one of last year’s stand-out events, the Rachmaninov Vespers, and always likely to be a highlight as soon as the tenors turn on the turbo chargers and, to me at least, it sounds like we are forlorn and grief-stricken in our wilderness.
Director Peter Gambie introduced Rheinberger’s Abendlied as an ‘antidote to modern life’ in his self-effacing way before it evoked a restful evening with its blend of voices. Peter has the confidence in his choir necessary to make his modest approach ironic. If you’ve much to be modest about, it wouldn’t work. Orlando di Lasso re-echoed through the acoustic before the sopranos stretched it further in Great God of Love by Pearsall.
It’s possible that by putting myself away in a corner in order to annoy as few people as possible with my note-taking deprives me of hearing any such ensemble performance at its best. I was aware of a bass line by being sat right by where much of it was coming from. The sopranos were fine from across the other side but what I heard might not have been quite the same as what most people did.
William Byrd is a choir speciality and it wouldn’t have been right for them not to represent him on such an occasion in this anniversary year. We had too little of the best bits, really, in only 40 minutes. This was more of a taster session than any magnum opus but the Sanctus hung in the air beautifully if too briefly and in need of more to go with it.
Eric Whitacre’s Sleep made me write ‘wall of sound’ (whether or not I’d been reading about Phil Spector recently), but it sudsided to a minimal finale that might not have occured to him. This Marriage expressed some hope over expectation for those disciples of Diogenes amongst us before Hail Gladdening Light by Charles Wood filled Wells with top notes and a swelling sound to finish impressively.