Pull up a pew …

One way to give your feet a rest is to sit down!

First seat of note was at St Paul’s Cathedral – Sunday afternoon Evensong. As usual (I’ve been to Evensong at St Paul’s before) the choir was wonderful – it’s rather like a concert. They do have a sermon though which this time consisted too much of the peacher’s children’s reactions to his invitation to have his say. One argument for a celibate priesthood 😉

That night it was Wigmore Hall – recommended as a place to see ages ago. I could hardly see it in its unused state so I had the enormous pleasure of baroque era music. The songs sung by the New Zealand born Samoan baritone were by Bach and Krieser …. believe it not, Bach came second in this instance! When we first met on the ringing jamboree weekend e-aunt asked if I minded that she bought a ticket for the same concert. Not at all! It was great to have a local on hand and even better to have Elizabeth’s company.

At the end of the week it was Southwark Cathedral. I went to have a look and struck a concert rehearsal. I must have enjoyed about 45 minutes of it, at first as I wandered the cathedral and then as I sat and listened … and rested!

That night I went to the all Gershwin singing and dancing concert at the Royal Albert Hall. This was a mixed blessing. The band was terrific – a small orchestra really. The dancing was better, more varied than I’d expected: ballet, modern ballroom, tap … and roller blades! The shades of blue in the tutus for Rahpsody in Blue were brilliant. But the singing ….. I kept thinking of Laura K and her friends and colleagues in Melbourne and the shows of theirs that I’ve had the pleasure of attending. They beat the five Gershwin singers hands down – and most of those young people struggle to get a gig. The Hall itself was stifling hot – no aircon. And I suffered my fear of heights again – got dizzy each time I stood up to let someone past. I was front row of the circle. Higher up and more vertical than I thought from the online plan when I bought the tickets. On the whole though, not sorry that I went.

I’d been back to St Martin’s in the Fields as a ringer but not as a tourist. I had to do that as it’s had a multi-million pound refurbishment. Thus yesterday I caught another rehearsal. Only 5-10 minutes this time but enough to make me hot-foot it to the Box Office and buy a ticket. It was the Nonsuch Singers. I’d have bought the ticket just to hear them so getting Emma Kirkby too was a real bonus! It was 15/16C songs (Tallis, Byrd, etc) plus some Britten put to words of Auden from the 20thC. Music can be such balm for the soul. Incredibly, the choir doesn’t have a CD you can buy. They must have made recordings some years ago as I’ve heard of them … which would only come from hearing them played on 3MBS or Classic FM.

And today, Westminster Cathedral for 5.30pm Mass. My penance for not going to Mass too often I think! Mass should not be sung unless there is a choir to help out the priest and cantor. The Mass setting wasn’t one I or the rest of the quite large congregation recognised. Or perhaps it was the usual thing of Catholics leaving the singing to the Protestants! The organ solos were dire – that discordant ‘music’ that I can’t stand. I’m afraid my tastes stop with Stravinsky.

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