This Wednesday’s lunchtime concert at All Saints' Church suitably marked the beginning of Lent with the Chamber Choir’s performance of two sacred psalm settings composed over 300 years apart, under the direction of Director of Music, Peter Davis.
The recital began with Gregorio Allegri’s most famous work, Miserere mei, Deus. The piece is written for a main choir of 5 parts and a separate solo quartet which was made up of Emma (Form 7), Dominic (Form 7), Helen (Form 6) and Rebecca (Form 7). The quartet’s voices complemented each other beautifully as they each wove their way around the complex polyphony of the music. The infamous leaps to a high C, sung by soprano Emma, appearing no fewer than five times throughout the piece, were executed perfectly- impressive indeed. Interspersed between the main choir's sections, the plainchant was sung with such precision and diction that it was easy to forget that this was not a professional choir.
Like as the hart, a setting of verses from Psalm 42 by Herbert Howells, concluded the recital. For this, the Chamber Choir were accompanied by School Organist Mr James Speakman. The choir captured the haunting, ethereal qualities of the melody exquisitely whilst the chromatic harmonies on the organ were brought out with sensitivity. A beautiful and atmospheric conclusion to the Lenten recital.
If you would like to listen to the recording of Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus, please follow this link: https://soundcloud.com/oakham-school-music/chamber-choir-miserere-mei-deus-gregorio-allegri