Sunday Showcase for Mothering Sunday


Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham

CELEBRATING Mothering Sunday with an appropriate programme of Church Music, Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum of Dean Close School began by glorifying Elizabeth 1 in the unaccompanied anthem O Lord Make Thy Servant Elizabeth.

Blend and balance of men and boys' voice parts was excellent as were clear entries and musical lines in William Byrd's densely textured counterpoint. Continuing with two unaccompanied Byrd motets, written for his increasingly Catholic faith, crisp diction and cleanly defined phrase endings were evident.

Soul-stirring, soaring solo treble enraptured in Ihr Habt Nun Traurigkeit as Laurence Kilsby's intrinsically sublimal tones floated above the accompanying voices. Delivering unparalleled beauty we savoured this unhurried piece from Brahms' German Requiem with the words "as one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you".

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater enlists some unusually quicker rhythms which sit strangely on the Virgin Mary's grief and terror but provides contrast for an otherwise lachrymal and dolorous subject only lightened by the hope and comfort of the two final choruses.

A small string ensemble and chamber organ (played by William Baldry) accompanied the boys only choir. Performing accomplished baroque trills and portraying the harrowing torment of Mary, mother of Jesus, varying combinations of solos and choruses ensued.

Confidently and dramatically Salim Jaffar's dark, edgy alto tones sang Fac Ut Portem with its constant dotted rhythms.

Fiery choral singing depicted Hell's flames in Inflammatus Et Accensus and hope glimmered through and resolved triumphantly in the concluding Quando Corpus with its lively fortissimo Amen.

Trained by conductor and Director Ben Nicholas in discipline, demeanour, technique and understanding the Schola Cantorum has established a well-deserved fine reputation.

Jill Bacon

Gloucestershire Echo

Tewkesbury Abbey

The Schola Cantorum sing the weekday choral services at the Abbey.

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Dean Close Preparatory School

The choristers are all educated at Dean Close Preparatory School in Cheltenham.

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TASC Association

TASC Association was founded in 2010 to help former choristers keep in touch.

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