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Sing a New Song

St Mary's Church, Wigton
26 April 2008

The Wordsworth Singers, under the direction of conductor Edward Caswell, are to be congratulated upon their deft singing of a very difficult and demanding programme of music from the 14th to the 20th centuries in St Mary's Church, Wigton, on Saturday evening.

They certainly 'jumped in at the deep end' with Josquin's motet Benedicta es Caelorum and quickly settled down to give heartwarming and convincing performances of this and his very beautiful Missa Pange Lingua - performances which glowed with an inner light, rhythmic complexities seeming to present no difficulties. The forte singing of the Et Incarnatus in the Credo was novel and yet thought provoking, as was the somewhat strange and remote placing at the end of the concert, the hymn melody Pange Lingua from which the mass grew.

Their account of Bach's motet Singet dem Herrn was gloriously confident. Articulation in the convoluted and quasi instrumental lines was crisp. Stravinsky's Three Sacred Choruses were a restrained contrast, and must have taxed considerably the voices of all.

Charles Harrison's organ playing was an astonishing demonstration of sheer virtuosity and superb musicianship, his Bach playing was authoritative and masterful and he seemed to make Louis Vierne's Aubade and Naiades from the Suite Op 55 bubble out of the instrument.

This is a group of considerable cultural stature of which the county can be justly proud.

David Upton