at St Paul's Church Hockley tonight (Thursday), Omega Speedmaster On Leather Nato
Jeffrey Skidmore's conducting was measured and delicate, and significant care was evidenced by his tempos, none more so than in a thoughtful interpretation of Tavener's The Lamb.
Alex Mason lent sensitive accompaniment at the organ and piano, but it was during the a cappella items where the choir impressed most.
Paying homage to the centenary of Benjamin Britten, Ex Cathedra's Christmas Music by Candlelight celebrated the composer's fondness for the eclectic with a fabulously diverse festive programme.
In Sally Beamish's Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Leather Strap In the Stillness and Fyfe Hutchins's O Emmanuel, Ex Cathedra displayed particularly good ensemble, breathing and moving as one, and in Britten's A Wealden Trio: Song of the women and James MacMillan's And lo, the angel of the lord taxing harmonies and intonation were surmounted with style to produce wonderfully shimmering colours.
Only the programme's most well known items proved a slight disappointment, with the Sussex Carol, Away in a Manger and In the bleak Omega Seamaster 501
Second in the programme, O Oriens from British composer Matthew Martin impressed particularly. Its exotic and seductive harmonies made for a spellbinding performance and imaginative use of the venue through subtle choreography leant extra depth to the work's swirling textures and tumbling organ accompaniment.
Interspersed with readings, poems and prayers from as wide ranging and vibrant sources as John Betjeman, Rowan Williams and comedian, Tim Minchin, the evening proved a chocolate box of Yuletide delights.
Artistic director and conductor Jeffrey Skidmore steered a skilful path through some 30 seasonal choral items, taking in traditional carols from the British Isles as well as works from further afield, including Rachmaninoff's Nunc Dimittis, F Roy Bennett's African Crib Carol and Poulenc's O magnum mysterium.
Midwinter each lacking something of the nuance so evident elsewhere, a slight loss of focus, perhaps, in view of other more technically challenging works.
Christmas Music by Candlelight
Ex Cathedra perform Christmas Music by Candlelight Omega Speedmaster Michael Schumacher The Legend Collection Price
tomorrow and Saturday (7.30pm).
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