Ex Cathedra at Christmas

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

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Philip M
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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:38 am

Ex Cathedra at Christmas

Post by Philip M » Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:56 am

I attended a delightful concert last evening given by Ex Cathedra at the wonderful circular church of St Chad in Shrewsbury (the county town of Shropshire in deepest rural England).

The large church dates from 1820 and is unusual being round, and 2 storeys high. It has an excellent acoustic (provided you sit in the right place).

The church was beautifully decorated for Christmas, with 2 large (10 foot or so) trees at the front, left and right, and all round the edge of the church, at both the ground and first floors, were numerous smaller (about 6 foot) trees.

Just before the concert, all the lights, including those on the trees, were switched off, as this was to be a candlelight concert, the only light coming from the candles that the choir members had attached to their handheld music stands.

The concert was conducted by their director, Jeffrey Skidmore.

The music was all Christmas related and ranged from 5th Century England to the 21st century - Alec Roth’s Love is come again and Marcus Barcham-Stevens’ Fear not, both from 2018 for example.

The format was that there was a sequence of typically 3 or 4 short pieces, then a reading, this being repeated for 2 halves of an hour each. Each half opened with the choir at the back of the church. They then moved round to the edges of the church - super “stereo” antiphonal effects! - before the choir moved to the front of the church for the bulk of each half.

Highlights included Tallis’ “Videte miraculum”, a superb vivacious arrangement of Gaudete! by Suzzie Vango, Sir David Willcock’s arrangement of Away in a manger and Jeffrey’s arrangement of Brande de l’Official by Tambouret.

The short readings were read by choir members and ranged from the Bible to an abridged version of Godfrey Rust’s amusing Gabriel’s Revelation


A superb way for the capacity audience to celebrate the Christmas period.


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