The Sixteen at the Concert HallBy Judith Creighton
December 10, 2008
“The voices of Classic FM” The Sixteen, under the direction of Harry Christophers, are a world famous chamber choir with a list of recordings and accolades as long as their collective arms.
It was with great anticipation that we made our way to the sumptuously decorated Concert Hall to get well and truly in the festive spirit with what was billed as ‘An evening of carols from the 15th and 16th centuries.”
But this was no ordinary carol concert. The choir – all 18 of them(?) – together with three performers on period instruments, including harp and lute, took their audience back in time, conjuring up snowy images of medieval England and introducing a variety of sacred and secular reflections on the miracle of “a saviour born to us that were forlorn.”
The programme moved between Latin settings of aspects of the Christmas story sung in angelic polyphony and more down to earth celebrations of the merits of ale and singing to “drive the cold winter away”.
Along with the music, the audience’s attention was held by the variety of voice and staging combinations throughout the concert, the performers changing position effortlessly from full-choir to small group to solo singing, some unaccompanied and some featuring the beautifully played and quite rare and specialist instruments.
The choir and their director evidently enjoyed the repertoire being performed but some introductions and information about the pieces from the director would have added to what was certainly a different but hugely enjoyable evening.