In a busy modern world we rarely have the time to reflect and contemplate. It is perhaps symptomatic of our age that we have become masters of multi-tasking, but rarely do we take the time to simply stop and listen. The second major Classical Concert of the year presented the opportunity to do just that; a contemplative programme of music for Remembrance in the Chapel, interspersed with poetry readings along a similar theme.
Cranleigh Voices sang several movements from Williams Byrd’s iconic Mass for Four Voices, written in 1592, the unaccompanied singing resonating beautifully in the Chapel, with their intonation and clarity of diction a notable feature. Mr Phillip Scriven directed expertly, shaping subtle phrases and allowing the natural beauty of Byrd’s polyphony to resonate.
Mr Dave Eaglestone led an excellent Brass Ensemble in music by Purcell, J.S.Bach and Schubert; the latter a real highlight of the concert, and a showcase for some high-class ensemble playing. This sextet has real potential, and with two new trumpeters the ensemble has excellent balance and a reinvigorated identity.
Between each of the musical items, Naalini Bird, Henrique Da Silva Gabriel and three members of Common Room; Mrs Natalie Davison, Mr Pete Bradnock and Mr Richard Saxel read poems spanning four centuries by Andrew Marvell, Emily Dickinson, Ivor Gurney, Phillip Larkin and Stevie Smith, providing a change of timbre and the opportunity for quiet reflection.
As the first event in this week’s Remembrance services, this marked a quiet hour of peace and a brief respite from the maelstrom of daily life.