Choral Evensong St Helen’s Escrick 12 May 2019
According to reports in the press, Anglican Choral Evensong is one of the few areas where there is an upsurge in numbers attending church. People cite the beauty of the service and the periods of sublime music, together with almost timeless routine as some of the reasons. Stamford Bridge Singers were delighted to be invited to lead the worship at St Helen’s Escrick at Choral Evensong on Sunday 12th May. The Musical Director, Stuart Nettleship, had chosen a variety of music which showed off the choir’s versatility, and which made best use of the wonderful acoustic in this large church. The service was also used to dedicate new chairs, and it seemed apt to do this during the service.
The responses were sung clearly and crisply to William Smith’s setting, and the setting of the canticles was the exciting and well known Stanford in Bb. There was good use made of light and shade in the Magnificat and the men’s voices in the Nunc Dimitis were particularly beautiful, especially from the heroic tenors.
The service started with Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner, and the central section in particular was delicate and reflective, which was a beautiful setting of the words “profoundly sacred, beyond reproof”.
For the psalm the setting by Howard Goodall was used, this is sometimes better known as the music to the Vicar of Dibly, but is a sacred piece of music in its own right. Nicola was the soprano soloist, and her clear voice, especially in the upper registers, was the real focus of this piece, with the choir providing sensitive backing. The anthem was Stuart’s arrangement of Amazing Grace, and featured Sue as the alto soloist. The first verse was completely unaccompanied, and it demonstrated Sue’s impressive range, as well as her crystal clear diction. The choir accompanied the soloist, and then in verse 4 took over the tune, before going back to being accompanists for verse 5. This was a very good and enjoyable setting of this well-known song.
The choir were accompanied throughout the service by a former member of the choir, Nigel Bellamy, who was his normal, friendly, supportive self. He finished the service with quite a flourish: he played Karg-Elert’s Nun Danket alle Gott to the great delight of all listening.
Our thanks to all at St Helen’s, for the invitation and for making us so welcome at the wonderful service of Evensong.