MICHAEL DRAKE This late night offering at St Peter Mancroft gave a relaxing close to the day with a quartet of viols in a range of 15th and 16th-century music.
Friday's late night offering at StPeter Mancroft, sponsored by the Period Home Centre, gave a relaxing close to the day with a quartet of viols in a range of 15th and 16th-century music. With soprano Rachel Elliott, sweet of voice and demeanour, the opening was full of spring song; but a change to more sombre mood came in Gibbons and Purcell's Fantasys before the exquisitely sung and played Crowned with Flowers and Lilies by Byrd, and Dowland's Lamentatio, each notable for beautiful vocal control over weaving instrumental underlay.
Elsewhere, concern has been voiced over choice of venues, one review reporting a group being too large for an intimate atmosphere. Here, probably the opposite was the case, it sometimes being difficult to hear all words and instrumental lines came a little blurred. However, there was a deal of variety in a Sett of Lawes, not only in tempi but also in tonal gradation with Concordia showing a remarkable degree of unity. They are intense musicians but there was humour too in a tobacco extolling song – not quite 21st-century correct – comparing it to love. The clear, pure soprano voice singing of no colour in Byrd's Though I be Brown produced in fact one of the most colourful pieces; and finally, in the company of Gibbons' Silver Swan, we floated into the night on the tide of England's musical golden age.