REVIEW: The Funtington Music Group

The lay vicars of Chichester Cathedral

The lay vicars of Chichester Cathedral

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The Funtington Music Group has been meeting at the University of Chichester for 13 years.

But 8 March was the first time that they had invited the Chichester Cathedral Lay Vicars, under the direction of Timothy Ravalde, Assistant Organist of Chichester Cathedral, to give a concert entitled The Art of A Capella Singing.

Timothy Ravalde had created a fascinating and chronological programme, which told the story of the development of A Capella singing from the 14th Century through to the present day, with illustrated examples of pieces that became more and more complicated as time passed.

He managed to slip in many unusual facts, such as, for instance, the dangerous ecclesiastical challenges facing composers such as Thomas Tallis in the Tudor period. All composers had to manoeuvre extremely carefully between Catholic and Protestant regimes, so that they were not accused of treachery to the monarch’s religious faith at the time. Timothy Ravalde pointed out that William Byrd, for instance, sailed on occasion very close to the wind, and he was probably only saved by his personal friendship with Queen Elizabeth.

The six male singers performed ten examples, such as Thomas Tallis’ Lamentations of Jeremiah. The Ensemble included two altos, two tenors and two bases, and they proved first class across the board, technically accurate, nuanced and expressive. This concert was an outstanding example of fine musicianship, and clever vocal treatments. Their singing was fresh, polished and committed, and the programme was notable for its seamless blend of harmonies, and finely weighted balance.

At the end of the evening, the audience showed their enjoyment with appreciative applause, and David Tinsley, Chairman of Funtington Music Group, summed up by saying, “This was a wonderful evening, and it is so good to listen to six singers, all professional in their own right, achieving such polished harmony, so unified, rich and smooth.”

Further details of the Funtington Music Group can be obtained from the Membership Secretary, Elizabeth Brooks, on 01 243 378900.

Visit website at www.funtingtonmusicgroup.org.uk.

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