Sunday, May 26

VICTORIA WITH A TWIST – Brighton Consort, James Dixon (director), Nick Houghton (organ)

- March 11, 2019

A delightful mix of old and new, this programme began with Tomas Luis da Victoria’s exquisite six-part setting of the Office of the Dead (1605), punctuated by elegant contemporary organ interludes. To counter any sinking effects of the plangent music and the high tenor tessitura, a discreet organ continuo tactfully maintained the pitch. Certain unaccompanied plainchant verses had a vibrant quality that contrasted well with the serene sections of the Requiem Mass. Only in the more animated ‘Libera me’ were risks taken and the dynamic rose above mezzo-forte.

However, it was in the second half that this concert really blossomed. Victoria’s heart-rending motet ‘Versa est in luctum’ was followed by Australian composer Joseph Twist’s impassioned setting of the same words, a very different but complimentary version. The effect was delightful. The choir were more alert and probably the tuning more exact, although without a score who could possibly identify a false chord? Movements from J.S. Bach’s organ Pastorale BWV 590 refreshed our ears before we compared and enjoyed settings of ‘Lamentations of Jeremiah’ by Victoria and Twist.

Finally came some happier works, Francisco Guerrero’s jolly Christmas carol ‘!Hombre, Victoria, Victoria!’ and Twist’s modern take. Victoria’s splendid hymn to Mary, Queen of Heaven, ‘Salve Regina’ ended the concert in stately calm.

St Paul’s Church, Brighton,
10 March 2019
Rating: ★★★½☆
Andrew Connal




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