The evening began in fine style with the Trio ‘jamming’ on Charlie Parker’s Billie’s Bounce. Clean, clear and cool playing made it clear this was going to be some evening!
HCS joined the Trio in three of Chilcott’s Jazz Folk Songs. The House of the Rising Sun, a lazy cool with a well blended sound from the Gentlemen; Tell my Ma, a more lively style, bouncing along; Cherry Tree with nicely caught delicate Japanese derived textures and shapes.
Sarah Dacey sang Britten’s arrangement of The Last Rose of Summer with a beautiful legato over the turbulent accompaniment.
The Trio then performed an impressive treatment of When I fall in love.
A second group of three Jazz Folk Songs (arr. Chilcott) followed. Hush little baby, neat navigation of some captivating if unexpected modulations; There is my loved one, skilled sustained quiet singing; Waltzing Matilda, tidy singing of ingenious cross-rhythms.
The second half was devoted to Will Todd’s Mass in Blue. Kyrie had a dark almost smoky opening with clean tight vocal lines. The central jaunty Christe contrasted well.
Throughout the Gloria the crisp rhythms of trio swept the choir along.
Credo opened with crisp and clear words. Et incarnatus provided a moment of gentle repose. Et resurrexit had pulsing rhythm and a fast moving bass leading into an ecstatic Et expecto and Amen.
Sanctus was the least successful movement. Its gentle style slipped into a level of timidity with some moments of slack rhythm and tuning.
By contrast the ensuing Benedictus was sung with great conviction and fire. The Double Bass and Chorus basses kicked it off with a real crisp foot-tapping ostinato.
Agnus was a sultry blues with Sarah Dacey delivering a well supported sound. The contrasting Dona Nobis Pacem was pure magic. The work and concert concluded in brilliant fashion with a ‘scat’ Credo.
What can Mr Harrison come up with next year? – I’ll certainly be there to find out!
Martin G Penny