Byrd, Vaughan Williams, Parry and Elgar
from the Sitwell Singers,
heard by MIKE WHEELER
The partnership between the Sitwell Singers and conductor Malcolm Goldring, which began in January this year, seems to be settling down nicely.
Their latest concert (St John's Church, Mill Street, Derby, UK, 18 October 2008) started with Byrd, including a light, airy account of Sing Joyfully, and a performance of the Mass for Four Voices in which the contrapuntal strands came across cleanly. There was a moment of slight uncertainty at 'Qui propter nos homines' in the Credo, and some tuning problems in the Agnus Dei, but it was a deeply thoughtful, moving performance.
In Vaughan Williams' Three Elizabethan Part Songs, just about his earliest music to be at all regularly performed, 'The Willow Song' got some beautifully soft singing, while 'O Mistress Mine' was sprightly.
Two of Parry's Songs of Farewell (a bit naughty of the publicity to imply that all six were being sung) were given a nicely intimate quality, in contrast to the big sound and bold contrasts conjured up for Elgar's Give Unto the Lord and Parry's I was Glad. In addition to the organ parts for these two items, Tom Corfield contributed a quietly purposeful account of Vaughan Williams' 'Rhosymedre' prelude, and a vigorous first movement of Elgar's Organ Sonata No 1.
The choral sound tended to be unduly dominated by the tenors, and some initial attacks were not always dead centre. Generally, though, the Sitwells are currently in fine form.
Copyright © 1 November 2008
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK