MIKE WHEELER listens to
the Sitwell Singers
The Sitwell Singers' Christmas concert [St John's Church, Mill Street, Derby UK, 14 December 2009] was a typical blend of the familiar and the more unusual, all vividly characterised.
The expressive range on display included Peter Skellern's engagingly quirky So Said the Angel, some extraordinary stillness and concentration in Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium, and two pieces by Bob Chilcott: his unexpectedly but effectively bluesy Remember O Thou Man, and a vigorously uninhibited performance of Nova! Nova! In a nod to this year's anniversary, the rich, eight-part sonorities of Mendelssohn's Frohlocket ihr Völker were vibrantly projected.
The choir has recently appointed a young assistant conductor, Shaun Brown, who expertly steered them through John Rutter's Candlelight Carol.
They were joined by organist, and organ-builder, Edmund Stow, playing a delightful early nineteenth-century manuals-only instrument that he has rescued from neglect, and which is standing in for the church's full-time organ, currently being overhauled. He contributed thoughtful performances of two of J S Bach's fughettas on Christmas chorales, Ireland's The Holy Boy, and Vierne's Berceuse.
Conductor Malcolm Goldring's arrangement of 'White Christmas' made a delicious closer.
Copyright © 27 December 2009