Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Valentine Singers

St Gabriel’s Church, Aldersbrook

Saturday 12 November 2011

Valentine Singers chose music from England and Austria at St Gabriel’s Church, Aldersbrook, presenting a varied programme of works by Britten, Bruckner and Tallis among others.

The concert opened with Charles Wood’s Oculi omnium, sung from the back of the church, and this was followed by Thomas Tallis’s Canon. While singing the Canon the choir processed to the front, using both sides of the church, resulting in a magical surround-sound effect for the audience. The first half of the concert continued with two wonderful performances of Bruckner motets, Ave Maria and Locus iste, which were full of expressive and well-controlled singing. Haydn’s Little Organ Mass closed the first half. This short Mass is a delight both to sing and listen to and the Valentine Singers did not disappoint. Special congratulations go to soprano Clare Gailans for her first class solo in the Benedictus.

Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb opened the second half – a rather eccentric work which the Singers performed with great skill, save a slight lack of incisiveness in the rhythmically complex second section. I am a big fan of Geoffrey Burgon’s works, but feel that his Nunc Dimittis needed a trumpet part in order to provide some contrast in sound and texture.

Frances, Emma and Peter Quintrell, Audrey Cassidy, Anthony Harrison and Andrew Taylor sang solo parts – all of them should feel proud of their contribution. The excellent David Sheppard was organist for the evening, and as usual the skills of conductor Christine Gwynn resulted in an enjoyable evening.

John Buckmaster