Delayed reaction


I am only now getting the chance to follow up on last Monday’s PDtP, not because it was so epic that words failed me (though it was and they did) but because I had to hot-foot it to Belgium to attend a performance of NTGent’s stage adaptation of Pasolini’s Accattone, complete with accompanying excerpts from Bach cantatas performed by Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe.

The pictures below will give you some idea of the oddness of the staging – in a dock warehouse, no less – but the bleeding chunks of Bach (incl. PDtP favourite BWV 56 final chorale) were exquisitely performed.

An Italian film adapted by a Belgian theatre company, performed in German and surtitled in Dutch; this English audience member was mightily confused…
Though there was no confusion surrounding the wonderful singing and playing from the musicians, in spite of the fact that they had to wear blankets owing to the cold.

While in Ghent, it was obligatory to behold the stunning work of art located within St Bavo’s Cathedral, the van Eyck brothers’ Het Lam Gods aka The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb; one of the panels in particular will be familiar to you all:

That’s odd – feels like something’s missing from beneath the lectern…

And it was of course equally de rigeur to sample the other local masterpieces, of which there were many.

Enjoying a trappist beer in a bar that dates back to the 13th century…
…as well as a local beer that comes with its very own ‘wastobbe’ (washtub) clay cup.










However, all of this is a distraction from last week’s real highlight, which was of course Monday’s session of Polyphony Down the Pub. It was just wonderful to have so many voices join us on the night (c.50 in all) and I felt we had a really great balance between the parts.

PDtP 12 tweet 1

Highlights for me were of course the Fevin Sancta Trinitas – it really is a joy-slap of a motet – and rounding off the main section with the final chorale from BWV 78.

PDtP 12 tweet 2

Four Arms, Two Necks, One Wreathing (which sounds like a description of a particularly saucy game of Twister but is in fact a lovely Weelkes 3 part madrigal) was another surprise delight; I am not sure the tempo that you guys insisted upon was absolutely the right one (come on, what’s wrong with slow fa-la-las once in a while?) but it was nice to experiment with democracy. Just that one time.

I hope too that those of you who stayed on post-10pm enjoyed the recaps (the second run-through of the Guerrero Ave Maria seemed to go down well) and that whatever time you left, it was with a song in your heart and a nicely wobbly spring in your step.

PDtP Sue 2PDtP Sue 1

PDtP Sue 3
As usual, we were very fortunate to have Sue Harding along to sketch us while we sang – did Sue capture you on the night?



PDtP Sue 4















Our next session on Monday October 26th is going to be a particularly special one, as we will be celebrating our 1st Birthday! We’ll be revisiting the very best works from our first 12 sessions (including a real live double choir motet – OMG!) and so I really hope that many of you will join us – sign up here with no further delay! And tell all your friends too! And any strangers while you are at it!

All the best




Published by

K O'Neill

I am a classical music enthusiast and a lover of choral music in particular. I run the Polyphony Down the Pub social/singing night, probably the most thrilling singing-Renaissance-motets-in-the-backroom-of-a-pub experience you could ever hope to have.

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