On Saturday March 22nd we performed our concert Spem in Alium. This turned out to be record breaking concert – the audience was the largest we have ever had, attracted no doubt by the wonderful music of Thomas Tallis as well as by His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts with whom we collaborated to bring this concert together.
The box office success was not the only record: for the first time we performed in 40 parts; to do this we invited additional friends to come along and augment our choir for the performance of Spem in Alium and His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts also took some of the parts – a common feature of Renaissance performance as the Cornett, a wooden wind instrument, was held to be the closest in sound to the human voice.
The rest of the programme provided a wonderful range of music from the Southern and Northern Renaissance with pieces of great poignancy combined with those of joyous celebration. Our conductor Robin Walker, as always, designed a varied and exciting programme, combining well-loved pieces with those less well-known – helping us to discover beautiful new repertoire.
His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts played a series of pieces that displayed the subtlety and range of their instruments to great effect, from fantastically rich chromatic music to with lively dances and stately suites. This leads us to yet another record as one of the pieces was a newly edited work by Guami – and quite possibly had not been performed in public for at least 400 years before our concert!
Audience members commented on the thrilling range of music as well as the quality of the performances while the Spem in Alium mesmerised many. It was remarked that having the choir ranged round in a huge arc meant that the experience was entirely different from hearing a recording and the resulting surround sound was tremendous. We too were blown away by the standing ovation at the end!
Thank you especially to our friend Her Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts. We had a wonderful time with them.