THE Farrant Singers’ most recent concert drew a very good audience for this wellthought out programme.
The texts of the Psalms of David, written well before the birth of Christ, express every human emotion going; joy, sadness, despair and even anger. Not surprisingly, these ancient biblical words have provided rich pickings for composers down the ages – and the Farrant Singers offered some familiar and not so familiar examples.
Allegri’s plaintive Miserere, Schubert’s comforting setting of Psalm 23, and Parry’s majestic I Was Glad were excellent choices, with the mood of each perfectly caught by all singers.
Among the lesser known were two psalm settings by the contemporary Latvian composer Arvo Pärt. Although he writes sparingly, the first of these is fast with some tricky rhythms, and the Farrants acquitted themselves confidently in these with some beautifully poised singing in the slower closing section.
Not surprisingly for a choir which has been steeped in sacred music throughout its halfcentury existence, settings of psalm texts to Anglican chant featured prominently. It’s a shame that churches have ducked out of singing these – but not so the Farrant Singers.
Although some of the reciting of the texts was rather deliberate and straight in places, and sung in four-part harmony throughout, this was chant singing at its best.
“Lord I am not high minded; I have no proud looks,” they sang. As a choir they certainly don’t look haughty, but they are hard-wired with an understanding of the music, and they visibly feel the heartbeat of each piece.