I made it home late last night after an afternoon filled with rehearsals and two carol services, the latter of which included a staggering thirty nine items in the programme. We were out after just over an hour and a half, but by then I had already put up my metaphorical tent and started my campfire, so I was distinctly relieved to be back in Somerset before the witching hour.
I took some time to wind down, and I sat and listened for a while to some of the Missa Seria on the new CD. Although the lower lines are noticeably stronger and more blended than the upper voices, it is no mean feat for a choir that pulls in its choristers from a number of different schools and gets by on a single rehearsal a week.
It is the Dominus Regit Me, though, that I enjoyed the most. While I must admit, hand on heart, that it does occasionally indulge in some obvious gestures, it is still a piece I enjoy, and belongs to that period when I was writing almost constantly for the choir at the request of Nick Gale, filling in gaps in the repertoire.
Dominus Regit Me was also Nick’s favourite piece of mine, so it has an additional emotional resonance, and some of the gestures were nods made specifically in his direction, eyebrow raises from one musician to another. They make me smile now to hear them in performance, and it reminds me that St. George’s back then was a place full of laughter and fun.
Lovely too, as I have mentioned before, to be tucked alongside music by Grayston Ives, to whom I owe so much, but also to hear a pretty fine work by Norman Harper, the Cathedral’s current music director. All the names in the choir may have changed apart from two, but the spirit of the place in doing much with little is clearly still strong.