From time to time this week, I’ve been listening to my Christmas playlist. You know, the usual stuff: Nat King Cole, KIrsty MacColl and the Pogues, Waitresses, Joni Mitchell, Chris Rea, Pretenders, Steeleye Span, John Tavener and the like. As a result, in the words of another classic, “it’s started to feel a lot like Christmas”.But, last night, Gareth, Alan, Moira+I went to hear the brilliant Exultate Singers perform “Carols by Candlelight” in the stunning St James Priory, Bristol… and captured the REAL spirit of Christmas. This was the second time we’ve seen/heard them perform at St James Priory and they are simply quite, quite brilliant. For me, the highlight of the evening was their rendering of Morten Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium” (see PS). Imagine the choir members standing around the edges of the packed, candlelit church at perhaps 1.5m intervals and singing this beautiful piece of music. Although the choir were performing in complete unity, the fact that they were standing apart meant that it was possible to pick out individual voices – and this only emphasised just how brilliantly talented they all were.
This was their second (and final) sell-out “Candles in Candlelight” performance of 2012 and I’m certain that we’ll be back next year to capture the Christmas spirit all over again, in what will no doubt become a new annual tradition for us.
Photo: Exultate Singers (courtesy of their website).
PS: Listen to a clip from Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium” here from their “Visions of Peace” CD.