World of song for a dull day

PUBLISHED: 10:28 05 February 2001 | UPDATED: 15:03 22 October 2010

Jay Singers @ St Andrew's Church, Eaton. By Christopher Smith.

Jay Singers @ St Andrew's Church, Eaton

By Christopher Smith

Brightening a dull Sunday afternoon, the Jay Singers ranged far and wide, even over the rainbow, in search of musical delights.

They started out with a whistlestop tour of the US and visited Elizabeth's England, Bach's Germany and Dvorak's Bohemia before ending with Peter Gritton's version of “Tea for Two” and other lollipops.

The kaleidoscope of cultures was always entertaining, but never more than in the ironic contrast between the song of the cowboy with a saddle-sore soul and the studied restraint and high culture of the multi-voice interpretation.

American twang was no hurdle to a group that also took Latin, Spanish and Czech in its stride.

The sustained tone that supported the sentimentality of “Shenandoah” was used differently and to particularly good effect in William Byrd's “Sing Joyfully” as the lacework of detail at the start gave way to more vigorous word painting.

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