St Barnabas Church, Carlisle
30 July 2011
The Wordsworth Singers, under their conductor Mark Hindley and with Tim Ravalde on the organ, gave a very enterprising and interesting concert of English music from the Restoration period – 1660 onwards.
They began, appropriately enough, with an anthem written for the coronation of Charles II – Zadok the Priest by Henry Lawes. This suffered somewhat in comparison with Handel's great masterpiece, written some 70 years later, but it was nevertheless an exuberant beginning to the concert.
Two anthems by John Blow were interesting, as he was the teacher of Henry Purcell, whom he both preceded and followed as organist of Westminster Abbey. William Boyce was represented, not only by two anthems, including the popular O where shall wisdom be found?, but also by two sonatas for violins, cello and harpsichord, expertly played by Ed Cross, Ian Wright (violins) and Ed Pendrous (cello), with Mark Hindley (harpsichord).
The climax of the evening for me, however were the three anthems by Henry Purcell, culminating in Jehovah, quam multi sunt hostes mei - this last surely one of the greatest anthems ever written by an Englishman.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the choir on their excellent ensemble, also many beautifully sung solos, and last, but not least, the detailed and skilful preparation and direction of the conductor Mark Hindley.