To St. Luke’s Church in Chelsea last night, for the Coro Christmas Concert. This is starting to become a seasonal ritual for us, and as it usually comes around the end of Birthday Week puts us in the mood to put up the tree and decorations, mull some wine and slap “I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Winter Solstice Vol. XVIII” on the CD player.
I’ve called it a carol concert in the past, and this is a disservice. There are carols in the setlist, giving us mere mortals a chance to bellow along with the exquisite tones of the choir (and believe me, they will leave you standing when it comes to the last verse of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and they pull into fifth gear. It’s like being in an Austin Seven pottering along quite happily thank you, and all of a sudden a E-Type Jag smoothes past you and disappears into the distance. No effort. Just sheer bloody class and power) but the emphasis is more on music for the season, and they take on a broad remit. This year’s programme took on everything from a Vaughn Williams piece, to a 13th century hymn, In Dulci Jubilo, to my personal favourite, Riu, Riu, Chiu, a 16th century Spanish peasent song whose call and response structure put me in mind of Gaudete. Sterling work from the debonair, handsome soloist on this one too. (Will this do, Simon?)
Readings this year were by Harriet Jones MP herself, Penelope Wilton, who did a fantastic job with poems and short prose pieces that ranged from the humorous to the quietly melancholic.
This is one reason I always enjoy Coro’s Christmas do. They’re never afraid to include reflective, and sometimes downright sad pieces in the evening. Take their reading of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
“One day soon, we all will be together
If the Fates allow,
Until then we’ll have to muddle through
It’s hardly Rudolf The Red-Nosed Ruminant, is it?
In short, great fun, and it’s always good to try something to add a little sharpness to the sugary glop that Christmas music can so often be.
Talking of sharpness – next year, guys, either get the heating fixed in St. Lukes or lay on some mulled wine. it was frickin’ freezing in there!