On Sunday 16 November, we were delighted to be joined once again by the Choir of Sherborne Abbey for Choral Evensong. Now very much a shared tradition, this is their 14th annual visit.
The centrepiece of our musical offering was George Dyson’s Evening Service in D, the festive setting of the Magnificat, with its soaring writing for trebles and tenors, contrasting to great effect with his much simpler and contemplative Nunc Dimittis.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence, an unaccompanied setting of words from the Liturgy of St James by Sir Edward Bairstow, was the anthem. It gave us all the opportunity to explore contrasts in dynamics and tempi, moving from the hushed introduction through the spiritied counterpoint of the central section to the exultant Alleluias at the climax, quickly subsiding away to the rapt atmosphere evoked at the outset.
We sang the Responses to the setting for Magdalen College by Bernard Rose and Psalm 97 to a chant by Henry Smart. Adrian Taylor conjured a wide range of colours from the organ throughout the service.
Choir mums prepared a splendid tea before the service that was much enjoyed by all.