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An Immaculate Blend

Christmas music from the Sitwell Singers,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


As in previous years, the Sitwell Singers mixed the obvious with the not-so-obvious in their Christmas concert (St John's Church, Mill St, Derby, UK, 8 December 2008).

Under 'Old Favourites' we had Boris Ord's Adam lay y-bounden, showcasing the Sitwells' immaculate blend. Pearsall's magnificent eight-voice In Dulci Jubilo was nicely judged, particularly the withdrawn ending. There were some insecure moments in Peter Philips' O Beatum et Sacrosanctum and David Willcocks' arrangement of Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing day, although the contrasts in the Philips were expertly handled. The choir's conductor Malcolm Goldring contributed his own very effective Lullay, Lord Jesus, and an arrangement of The Infant King. Mathias' Sir Christèmas was fun but needed a slightly steadier tempo to make its full effect.

The high points of the evening came with beautifully sensitive readings of Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium and Grieg's Ave Maris Stella, and a vigorous, rhythmically incisive performance of Bob Chilcott's Nova! Nova!

Organist David Johnson provided reliable support, and contributed a sturdy account of J S Bach's Fugue on the Magnificat, BWV 733.

Copyright © 24 December 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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