Hush No More
Saturday 7 October 2017, 7.30 pm
St Luke's Church, Hatfield Road, Bath BA2 2BD
Sunday 15 October, 3 pm
St Mary's Church, Limpley Stoke,
Paragon Singers present ‘Hush, No More’, an evening of songs about song and music celebrating music, from the 16th century to the present day. The programme centres on Britten’s thrilling a cappella masterpiece, Hymn to St Cecilia, written in 1942 to a text by W.H. Auden as an ode to Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music.
Alongside the Britten, Paragon will be singing pieces by Monteverdi, Purcell, Lassus, Copland and Skempton, with stand-out solos from within the choir and some one-to-a-part consort work. As Paragon’s second outing with new director Sarah Latto, and in the stunning setting of St. Luke's Church, this promises to be a captivating evening with one of Bath’s foremost chamber choirs.
Orlando Lassus Musica dei donum
William Byrd Sing joyfully
Claudio Monteverdi Cantate Domino
Orlando Lassus O la, o che bon eccho!
Henry Purcell Hush, no more
Peter Philips Cecilia Virgo
Orlando Gibbons O Clap your Hands
Benjamin Britten Hymn to St. Cecilia
Howard Skempton The Flight of Song
Bernard Rose Feast Song to St. Cecilia
Aaron Copland Sing ye praises to our king
Review by Antony Corfe
The sound still rings in my ears. Lovely clarity; lovely openness. No wandering off pitch and real contrasts between fortissimo and pianissimo. Major thirds pitched just right at the end of passages. Lines beautifully shaped. And what a programme; so many contrasts in period, style and number of voice parts, each showing off the focus and flexibility of the choir.
Yes. A fascinating programme. One piece, ‘The Flight of Song’ by Skempton (b. 1947) was astonishing as the first verse solely comprised a veritable barrage of talking voices. Thereafter a most beautiful simple melody, beautifully sung. Another piece, ‘Oh la, o che buon eccho’, by Lassus (1532-1594) was a witty delight and unconducted. Five voices on stage echoed by five offstage. Marvellous and great fun.
I was particularly struck by the burst of joyful sound “Blow the trumpet in the new moon” in the madrigal ‘Sing Joyfully’ by Byrd (1543-1594). It was a fine example of the way the choir responded to the verse content.
The major part of the concert was a performance of ‘Hymn to St Cecilia’ by Britten (1913-1976). Full of drama, tension and paradox which once again the choir responded to. This splendid concert conducted by Sarah Latto concluded with the lovely ‘Hush, no more’ by Purcell (1659-1695). A fitting end and sung by memory.