A shutdown on singing... how have we coped?
However strange the last five months have been, they have been extremely strange for the music community. We, like many, have experienced lockdown with no template, no guidance and frankly no idea what’s going on. This year in particular, the Easter and early summer periods would have been exceptionally busy but a Holy Week packed full of concerts, broadcasts and recordings seemed to disappear overnight. The past term of preparation felt wholly unresolved. We did, however, have one last late-night concert in St. Martin-in-the-Fields on March 13th. The programme centred around various settings of the Miserere, including Antonio Lotti’s famous eight-part setting and the lesser known ten-part setting, as well Herbert Howells’s Requiem. Performing in candlelight was hugely atmospheric and was a wonderful way to end the term, even if we didn’t know it at the time.
Thankfully, the lockdown period has not been completely void of music. Much of April was spent gearing up to the release of The Hours, an album of music by Ben Parry. While many groups adopted the ‘virtual choir’ trend, we decided to expand the idea by performing a newly written piece about the pandemic. Thomas Hewitt-Jones’s beautiful piece Can You Hear Me? seemed to immediately strike a chord with the public, even reaching the top of the iTunes charts. This also featured the wonderful soprano, Laura Wright, who we worked with again to record the national anthem for the opening of Royal Ascot 2020 at Home.
We are all looking forward to the return of live performance, in whatever form it may take. Many of the projects planned have been postponed rather than cancelled, meaning there is a lot to look forward to. We are particularly excited about our new CD, Messe Da Pacem, which includes the first ever recording of the mass by Pierre Villette (released on September 25th).