Monday, 7 April 2008

Saint Alban's Abbey

Well if you're going to sing in wonderful churches, you might as well brag about it, I reckon! We sang 3 services over the weekend in St Alban's Abbey - Evensong on Saturday (Prince Responses, Stanford Mag & Nunc in B flat, SS Wesley Blessed be the God and Father), Choral Eucharist on Sunday Morning (Jackson Mass in G, This Joyful Eastertide arr. Ledger) and Evensong Sunday afternoon (Leighton Responses, Rawsthorne Mag & Nunc in D, Easter hymn of Praise by Shepherd) and it really did go rather well, with quite a few very complimentary remarks. The Wesley is so completely Victorian and over the top, worthy of Gilbert & Sullivan at their best, that we actually enjoy singing it. When you first sing it through you really just want to throw up, but now we just treat it as a bit of a laugh.

It was very strange to sing there though. The Quire is swathed in scaffolding and everything is covered with dust as a result of the organ work going on, so we actually sat in the crossing and David had to play an electronic organ. It took him until Sunday afternoon to work out how to get the best from it, but wound fully up it was pretty good. But the accoustic was the strange thing. I could hear the organ perfectly well, but when I opened my mouth it felt as though I was singing outdoors, and my voice just disappeared up to the roof. Most other people could hardly hear the organ, but found the singing very rewarding. How odd that people only a few feet away perceived such a different effect.

Saturday evening we fed Lorna and Richard who were just back from 2 weeks in Japan, where they'd had the most fabulous time. They went with some long-time friends who's son has been in Tokyo for a few years and who was able to be a personal guide for them, which is just the perfect way to first visit a foreign country.

We gave them scallops to start with, seared in butter with capers and served on slices of avocado, then my smoked fish pie as boasted about the other week, followed by a Jamie Oliver layered instant rhubarb fool. It was all pretty good, especially the scallops, but L&R faded quickly and went home early. No great surprise there, given the time zone they were still living in.

Evensong yesterday was at 6.30 so we didn't get home until well gone 8, but we'd anticipated this, and Jenny had made an Andalucian oxtail stew on Saturday morning, which she'd left on a timer to be ready at 8.30. It was simply delicious, but before tucking in we awarded ourselves a glass of very good Puilly Fuissé whilst soaking in a deep, hot bath with the lights turned low and a couple of oil lamps burning. Trés decadent!

7 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

Very decadent indeed and just how love should be enjoyed. I work with someone who sings in a choir, sounds like hard work, literally from a physical perspective I mean. Great for the posture too she says...

Rob Clack said...

I don't find it all that physically demanding, though maybe I'm not doing it right. I find it tiring because I have to focus really hard on what I'm doing, and that becomes exhausting after a while.

Not complaining at all. It's pure self-indulgence! I love the music and the wonderful buildings we get to sing in. And I enjoy the ritual. I'd prefer it if we wore cassocks and surplices as we used to when we were a parish church choir, but now we're freelance, we'd have to buy ourselves a set, which would be expensive.

I do feel a bit guilty as a complete atheist, sitting in the midst of lots of folks who really do believe. Would these clergy be upset if they knew I was convinced it was all just fairy stories? Probably not, I suspect.

dulwichmum said...

I want to come to tea at your house...

Rob Clack said...

Well it was you, of course, DM, I was trying to tempt in that direction!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Lovely singing, lovely food - again. How do you keep it up Rob?
M:)

Rob Clack said...

I don't, Margot. I'm knackered!

Really busy at work and having a frantic weekend, but I'll try to post something tomorrow.

Sparx said...

ooh, sounds lovely and decadent and wonderful!