Luminatus sing Ave Maria around the font

Luminatus sing Ave Maria around the font

Just a glance at the programme just before the concert started was enough to make us go ‘Ooh, look, Palestrina, Josquin de Prez, Rachmaninov – and that’s just the first half!  Then the choir entered the Church but went to the west end of the Church to sing the first item – behind us!  Anticipation, waiting, ……..the first chord of the Ave Maria signalled that we were in for a treat.  Beautiful harmonies, clear diction, soaring soprano lines, music to ‘get lost in’.

The choir sang the following a capella sacred music:

Luminatus conducted by David Bray

Luminatus conducted by David Bray

Ave Maria – Josquin de Prez

Missa Brevis – Palestrina

Four Motets – Poulenc

Salve Regina – Liszt

Bogoroditse Devo – Rachmaninov

The first half was truly wonderful and as the interval started you could hear the buzz of the audience as (I presume) they talked about their enjoyment of the concert so far.  We both know the Bogoroditse Devo very well and we were able to appreciate the choir’s accuracy, attention to detail and dynamics.

Luminatus sing Palestrina

Luminatus sing Palestrina

The concert continued with a programme of secular music:

Agnus Dei – Barber

My love dwelt in a northern land – Elgar

O Mirtillo – Monteverdi

Il est bel et bon – Passerau

My soul, there is a country – Parry

Hymn for Athene – Taverner

Four songs – Finzi, including My Spirit Sang All Day

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day? - Lindberg

Luminatus sopranos and altos

Luminatus sopranos and altos

As Dai Evans said to the audience as he thanked the choir at the end, ”it’s probably the first time anything by Passerau has been performed in Stony Stratford!”  We were treated to a feast of fine music and we certainly would welcome their return.

This account of the Luminatus concert 'Harmonies of Heaven and Earth - sacred and secular masterpieces of choral music' on 18 March 2017 is by David Scrutton with photos by Jeff Wright

Luminatus receiving applause

Luminatus receiving applause

Around the font again

Around the font again

An attentive audience for Luminatus

An attentive audience for Luminatus

Luminatus in Lent

Luminatus in Lent