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The earlier masters included Gibbons and Byrd, Gabrieli and Schütz, Purcell and Bach, all caught up in the wondrous diversity of developing styles and intricacies of contrapuntal weaving. I am always intrigued by the younger choirboys peering over their copies at Stephen Cleobury's passionate direction and reacting instantaneously. This programme was a killer for any less than those experienced in musical marathons. The conclusion to this programme was no sweet miniature or musical blessing. Bach's motet  Lobet den Herrn  rang out with the joyful excitement implicit in its construction and driving force.

The current organ scholar, Benjamin Bayl from Sydney, played a few organ pieces with the assurance and flair which will take this 22 year-old far in whatever aspect of music he pursues.

On a fine summer evening a fortnight later I went to another festival event held in neighbouring Ely cathedral. The European Chamber Orchestra led and directed by Lavard Skov Larsen gave us a delicious concert of delectable music: J.C. Bach's Symphony in G minor, Haydn's Symphony No 65 in A, Grieg's Elegiac Melodies, and with William Fong, Mozart's Piano Concerto in A K414.

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Copyright © 17 August 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK




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