The Allegri Singers once again brought their considerable vocal skills to bear on a mixed programme of unaccompanied music dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries – all on a theme of Conflict and Memory.
The choral program included Renaissance pieces for from 4 to 8 parts by Giovanni Palestrina and the lesser-known but equally inventive Peter Philips which, making the most of the excellent acoustic of St George’s nave. These were contrasted with the famous five negro spirituals by Michael Tippett from A Child in Our Time (written in 1944 and inspired by the event which triggered Kristallnacht just before the start of World War II) and also the breathtakingly uplifting melodies and unusual harmonies of Herbert Howells’ short requiem mass, written in 1932.
Soloists also performed two settings of poems from A Shropshire Lad by George Butterworth – When I was One and Twenty and Is My Team Still Ploughing? – both very evocative of the simple themes of the slim volume of poetry which, it is said, thousands of young men took into battle with them in World War One, a special miniature edition having been published to fit into their battledress. As an extra treat, conductor Owen Davies wowed the audience with two highly complex and little-known piano preludes by Lennox Berkeley, written in 1945.
Another feast of music by a small but talented choir!