By Diana Morley
The eight members of the Fayrfax Consort were warmly welcomed back for their Christmas programme at the Old Church on 5th December. This year the audience was allowed to join in the popular carols – maybe we sang some lines with extra fervour since they were so apt (‘and the bitter weather’). As before, David Ireson’s programme was discriminating and felicitous. Well-loved carols (Ding Dong Merrily on High) were mixed with rarities. He included my own favourite, the Basque carol The Angel Gabriel, which I first sang as a schoolgirl.
The great names were there: Vaughan Williams and Walford Davies as arrangers; Boris Ord of Cambridge, in his one composition, familiar from the King’s Nine Lessons; Herbert Howells, not The Spotless Rose but his Lullaby and Here is the little door. This St Albans group gave us The Holy Son, by their long-time Cathedral organist, Peter Hurford. As a pendant to John Joubert’s 2010 Three Choirs Festival success we had his There is no rose. From the 17th century Martin Peerson we sprang up to yesterday with Malcolm Sargent’s jazzy De Virgin Mary and to today with Susanni by Richard Rodney Bennett, now in New York and sadly missed.
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