The seasonal musical calendar was opened last Friday, as the University Lost Consort brought the ancient undercroft of the Pilgrim’s Hospital in Canterbury alive to the sound of Benjamin Britten.
The audience filled the historic space to bursting for a performance of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, in which the choir was joined by harpist and fourth-year student, Emma Murton, conducted by Dan Harding. First-year alto Ruth Webster captured the mournful air of the dissonant ‘That Yongë Childe,’ whilst third-year soprano, Gabriella Grandi, lulled the listener in ‘Balulalow.’ After the opening plainchant, ‘Hodie Christus natus est,’ had died away, the choir launched into a vibrant ‘Wolcum Yole!’ and moved through the lyrical ‘There is no rose’ through to the fierce ‘This Little Babe;’ the challenging ‘In Freezing Winter Night’ rose and fell in the hushed confines of the packed undercroft, before the evergreen ‘Spring Carol’ and the animated ‘Deo Gracias’ led into the reprise of the plainchant, and the piece dissolved amidst the ancient stone.
Credit to Emma for deftly delivering a tricky harp-part, and to the whole ensemble for a spirited and enthusiastic way in which to begin the Music department’s musical Christmas.
Photos © Matt Wilson / University of Kent