You Review: Sheffield Chamber Choir

Classical music newcomer John Thompson experiences choral evensong at Lichfield Cathedral


It is not often you think about eating a dog on a canal boat while sat in a cathedral, yet with a certain level of boredom from the religious service taking place, synaptic connections ignited bringing up recollections of a Peep Show episode that left me with mental images of a canine’s demise.

Lichfield Cathedral has a violent past, much fought over during the civil war. This conflict in my evidently odd mind was continued during this very Evensong. I found the choral elements of the service most delightful and, probably due to my lack of faith, the interspersed teachings from gospel less engaging.  

Obviously choral music and the praise of a higher power are historically intertwined but I spent my time distilling out the vocal beauty of each piece from the theological meaning of the words and was left with an appreciation of the skill of the choir and conductor to collaboratively produce such sound. The only time my distillation failed was with the excessive repetition of: 'Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen'

Credit to Robert Webb and the Sheffield Chamber Choir for attempts made to vary the delivery, yet with the limitations of not being able to wonder into other genres of music such as rap, barbershop or vocal jazz, there is only so much you can do with the material.

During this blustery and chilly afternoon the only thing which retained my interest, warming my innards and thus discouraging me from escaping to partake in the imbibing of a cup of tea, was the choir.

Sheffield Chamber choir has the warmth of a forge yet the precision of finely honed steel. 

John Thompson



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