Marie-Claire Alain’s third release of JS Bach’s Trio Sonatas
Over the course of her life, organist Marie-Claire Alain recorded the complete organ works of Bach not once, not twice, but three times, describing the 1st recording as ‘instinctive’, the second as ‘more considered’ and the third as enjoying ‘the benefit of a long life of work and of research’.
I’ve been learning the trios over the course of lockdown and so have spent a lot of time listening to different recordings. There’s a huge amount of variety when it comes to choices of tempo and registration and I love borrowing bits and pieces from different people, but Marie-Claire’s recordings have a lightness of touch that make them seem to sparkle.
Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge’s Magnificat album
As with most of my colleagues in the choral world, I’m desperately missing the regularity of Chapel services, with no fixed idea of when they might return.
There’s something magical about the focused hush of choral Evensong which can so quickly erupt into glorious sound, and this is a magic that the John’s disc captures perfectly. Whenever I need my Evensong fix, this is where I turn.
Melody Gardot’s My One and Only Thrill
This has been a favourite album of mine since I was about 16, and has stuck with me ever since. Melody turned to singing after a serious bike accident that left her confined to a hospital bed for a year and oversensitive to light and sound. Singing helped her heal emotionally but also helped her recover some of her cognitive abilities.
I love Melody’s voice and the way she delivers everything – slightly hushed because of her sound sensitivity, lending every track a glorious intimacy – the orchestration on the tracks is fabulous too. I always put her on when I’m in the kitchen cooking or doing the washing up, and often have a little sing-a-long.
In normal life I don’t really have time to watch films, so I’ve been trying to make the most of the reduced schedule at the moment, and Misbehaviour has certainly been a favourite.
It’s a brilliant film that documents the 1970s clash between the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Miss World competition, exploring second-wave feminism and its interaction with concurrent issues of race.
BBC Young Musician
As the presenter of this year’s BBC Young Musician’s coverage on BBC Four, I realise I have a slight vested interest, but rewatching these 25 amazing musicians has been a real highlight of the last couple of months.
I love being introduced to new and unexpected repertoire and finding out more about the capabilities of some of the instruments, as well as reliving the last live events I attended before lockdown.
The World Cup of Evensong on Twitter
This is something set up by Patrick Allies, conductor and artistic director of Siglo de Oro. It started off with a contest between the Evensong canticles, and then went onto anthems with a couple of votes each day.
It’s something which has captivated choral twitter, and has led to some pretty heated social media debates but has also been a fantastic way to get to know some new repertoire.
The ‘Name that Nunc’ competition that is running alongside is also rather fun, featuring theatre organs, kazoos and singing babies…
Anna Lapwood and Pembroke College Choir, Cambridge are releasing All Things Are Quite Silent on 25 September on Signum.