The second half of Lent and fell squarely in April this year; we marked it with an elegy of penitential music, including Call to Remembrance by Farrant on Passion Sunday (6 April) Byrd’s Mass for four voices and Greater love hath no man by John Ireland – both on Palm Sunday (13 April). This gave way to much more celebratory music like the Vierne Messe solennelle on Maundy Thursday and Britten’s setting of the Jubilate Deo on Easter Sunday. A busy time lies ahead of us.
Looking briefly back to February, some of the boys and girls flew the flag ably for us at the Abbey’s inaugural Wedding Fair; visitors listened appreciatively as they sang some of the items in their matrimonial repertoire.
Family business detained Robert elsewhere that weekend and Adrian Taylor stepped ably into the breach, both conducting and playing the organ; in fact, he started off the Evensong anthem by conducting the first couple of bars to set the tempo before going off to accompany us for the rest of it on the organ – quite a feat!
At Evensong on 2 March, the girls and us men did our best to make Italian visitors from Treviglio feel welcome by singing two motets in Latin; most of the hymns also seemed to set English translations of verses in Italian. According to Diane Williams, the Mayor told her afterwards that he was ‘moved in the heart’ by the music. In response, Simon Corbett wondered ‘quando andiamo per cantare alla chiesa di Treviglio?!’ Well, if ever we do contemplate a tour to Italy, it looks like we’ve just found our translator…