Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Snape

CHRISTOPHER SMITH The Autumn Britten Festival was marked with a concert concentrating on the more popular and traditional aspects of his music making, his compositions for small groups of singers.

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

The Autumn Britten Festival was marked with a concert concentrating on the more popular and traditional aspects of his music making, his compositions for small groups of singers.

They were performed in authentic style by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, at Snape Maltings, under the direction of Stephen Darlington with Clive Dirskill-Smith at the organ and piano.

Light-voiced, yet with enough tone and strength when required, the singers knew just how to catch the spirit in a variety of settings. Especially interesting for listeners from Norwich because it was written in 1955 for St Peter Mancroft's Quincentenary, the Hymn to St Peter offered a chance to display the Anglican manner in chant and modern harmony.

The Golden Vanity, for boys' voices alone, came over as a rumbustious ballad, with its Jolly Roger horrors wrapped up in rollicking rhythms. Three male voices approached Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard in the same way. A Shepherd's Carol, reflecting a typical cheeky text by W H Auden, was all the better for being contrasted with a more meditative lyric by him in the Chorale after an Old French carol that the choir sang with thoughtfulness. Finally came the mystical Rejoice In The Lamb, with Christopher Smart's verbal pyrotechnics conveyed in vocal arobatics until the resolution came in hauntingly repeated Hallelujahs.