Purcell & Vivaldi - Greenwich - '100 Not Out' for Trevor Dannatt OBE

The Thomas Tallis Society Choir & Orchestra performed a programme of music by Capperauld, Finzi, Purcell, Vivaldi and Williams at St. Alfege Church in Greenwich on Saturday 18th December 2020.

The programme began with Purcell's Come Ye Sons of Art (of 1694). I began playing the natural trumpet part, and I was asked to play the second alto part (one octave higher) in the movement 'Sound the Trumpet' with the alto soloist Hugh Cutting.

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Next in the programme was a rousing rendition of Finzi's 1952 Magnificat, before the interval. It featured powerful choral sounds and the wonderful string section, led by Sarah Sexton and with solo viola passages by Ruth Nelson.

After a short interval, the first piece of the second half was entitled 'Dreamer' (2019) by Jay Capperauld (b.1989), which was first performed at the Cumnock Tryst Festival as a gift for James MacMillan's 60th birthday. The piece is set to the opening of Robert Burns' poem 'Sweet Afton'.

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The next piece in the programme was written by the world renowned baritone, Roderick Williams. His composition 'Here Rolls the Sea' (2019) was written especially for this choir, the Thomas Tallis Society, who premiered it on 16th June 2019. The piece was commissioned in memory of Hilmary Quarmby and it is set to words by the Bengali writer Ravindranath Tagore, which were known to be Hilmary's favourite words since she saw them on the entrance to Dartington Hall. (Incidentally, where I met my wife, and, years later I proposed there and subsequently got married there!)

Tonight's performance celebrated the 100th birthday of the architect Trevor Dannatt RA OBE (a Greenwich man and longtime supporter of the Thomas Tallis Society), who is arguably most renowned for designing the Royal Festival Hall. Mr. Dannatt sat in the middle of the church and he was acknowledged and thanked by the conductor, Eamonn Dougan, before the final piece in the programme. The performance of Vivaldi's Gloria [RV 589] featured excellent oboe playing from Polly Bartlett and intimate continuo playing from Sarah McMahon (cello) and David Miller (theorbo). The choir sounded absolutely fantastic throughout. Eamonn Dougan is clearly an inspiring conductor, animateur and vocal instructor and it was thoroughly enjoyable to rehearse and perform under him, with the wonderful Thomas Tallis Society.

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