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de Padilla, Whitacre, Vaughan Williams and Łukaszewski

St Giles in the Field, London – 26 March 2010


Tredici is a chamber choir of some 30 voices and I went along to the beautiful Church of St Giles in the Fields, just behind Charing Cross Road, on the very edge of London’s West End, to hear the VW Mass.


After restrained, but very beautiful, performances of de Padilla’s Ave Regina caelorum and Lux arumque – a work devoid, I am pleased to say, of Whitacre’s cutesy modernism – we came to the meat of the event.


Vaughan Williams’s Mass for four soloists and double choir is one of his most important works but we seldom hear it in concert. Richard Thomas’s direction was near perfect. That so few voices could give such a big performance was a surprise but a very pleasant one. There was much excitement – as in the section beginning Patrem omnipotentem – which balanced the gentle Kyrie, one of VW’s most sincere and delicate utterances. The soloists were choir members and they sang from their positions within their sections and to hear a solo voice come out of the body was quite mystical; a real quality of ecstasy here because of this quasi “hiding” of the soloists. This was a very fine performance.


The show ended with two motets by the young Polish composer Łukaszewski. They made a nice encore.


Full marks to this chamber choir for its enterprise in programming and its excellence in performance. I look forward to hearing them again.


Bob Briggs

See also Laudibus on Delphian [Editor]