As I reflect on another year (my 30th) of dedicated work from the Choir, two things stand out in my mind; the performance in a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Good Friday of James MacMillan's Seven Last Words from the Cross, and the singing in the Thomaskirche, Leipzig, when the Choir visited that city as guests of the Thomanerchor, which was celebrating its 800th anniversary.
The inspiring presence of James MacMillan at the rehearsal on Maundy Thursday was real and direct, and the concert received a four-star review in The Times: “I was gripped by a superbly atmospheric performance … The work’s formidable choral demands range from subterranean growls and eerie whispers to Gaelic inflections and shock discords that must be attacked with total confidence: the young [singers] of King’s College Choir never faltered.”
Equally inspiring was the experience of standing in front of the memorial to J.S. Bach in the Thomaskirche and singing Purcell's Funeral Sentences (amongst other repertoire). Members of the Choir were also able to sing with and meet singers of three of the most famous German choirs (ours was the only British choir in this four-choir festival), those from Regensburg Cathedral and the Kreuzkirche, Dresden, joining King's and the Thomaners.
As always, the Choir has given devoted service to the chapel liturgies, and their singing in the Christmas Eve carol service, as well as on television – Carols from King's (watched by nearly 3 million people in the UK) and Easter from King's – attracted much deserved praise.
Other highlights included concerts in Paris, Amsterdam and London, and, here in King's. In this last, a performance of Parry's I was glad! conducted by my predecessor found Sir Philip Ledger on his most incisive form. There were appearances in charity concerts which raised money for local housing (Home-Start) and Help for Heroes.
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