A hangover 5 years in the making

There are big nights out and then there are BIIIIIIG nights out, and last night’s PDtP 5th Birthday Special was most definitely in the latter category.

This was
the room 30 mins before lift-off:

before 73 of you – 73!!! – filed in and started the most sublime singing:

In homage to our early days, the setlist was jam-packed full of the some of the most incredible motets, madrigals and chansons – and the evening saw the return of the Bach chorales, which many of you welcomed:

while others were a bit more meh about their reappearance:

(Here’s a spotify playlist of the night’s number, btw:)

So many highlights from the session, but stand-outs for me were the D. Lobo Pater paccavi (the sound of the second sopranos weaving the cantus firmus line through the texture was utterly spell-binding), the Victoria O decus apostolicum and of course the truly magnificent Byrd Ne irascaris, Domine – there’s something quite special about hearing 70 people drop down to almost a whisper at the words Sion deserta facta est (surely one of the greatest passages in all choral music).

At the other end of the spectrum was the now obligatory sort-of-but-not-quite-Bach birthday chorale, which was sung with an aplomb and panache that was totally undeserved by the material:

And of course, no birthday is complete without cake – huge thanks to Elli and Lucy for their epic baking skillz:

I’ll leave it to those who were there to sum up the rest of the evening, but thanks once again to all who came and made it such a special night.

(Thanks, Claire; we don’t get referred to as cool very often.)

In other news…

As promised, here are the details of the other choirs/events who want to hear from you:

  • The High Holborn Chamber Choir (rehearsals Thursdays at 7pm in the Swiss Church) are looking for altos and tenors; details here.
  • The London Classical Choir & Orchestra are looking for singers to join them for a concert on Saturday evening in aid of homeless charities. (Vivaldi Gloria plus Handel choruses.) Rehearsals Friday evening/Saturday afternoon in NW3. Full details here.
  • The Ionian Singers (rehearsals Tuesday evenings in Vauxhall) are looking for new members – find out more here.
  • On November 29th in Kentish Town, NW Live Arts are presenting what looks to be a fascinating concert of Bach, Schubert, Iraqi folk melodies, kora music from West Africa and folk music from Azerbaijan. Details here

And finally…

Please don’t forget to complete the short survey on the future of Polyphony Down the Pub if you are at all interested in having your say.

Here’s the link and here’s what it’s all about. (Apologies if you couldn’t get the link to work yesterday – it’s fixed now.)





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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