City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Edinburgh Singers, Canongate Kirk, Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 07 October 2013

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Canongate Kirk
The Edinburgh Singers
Vaughan Williams, Three Shakespeare Songs; Finzi, Seven Poems of Robert Bridges; Elgar, Three Part Songs, Op18; Brahms, Liebeslieder Walzer, Op 52.
John Gormley (conductor), Christine Gough (piano), Justin Nash (piano).
Running time: 

This was the Autumn Concert of The Edinburgh Singers who go back to 1952 with a fine reputation of the widest range of music - from simple folk songs to major choral works. John Gormley became their Musical Director in 2009 and for this concert had chosen an intimate feeling.

Two of the opening Three Shakespeare Songs from Vaughan Williams were texts from The Tempest and the third from A Midsummer Night’s Dream - and enchanting they were. Gerald Finzi’s seven songs were based on the poems of Poet Laureate Robert Bridges, whose love of the countryside flows out of his poetry. The fifth song, Nightingales was a particular delight.

After a short interval where the conductor moved to one side and the choir sat quietly in their seats, the audience too, we heard three part songs by Edward Elgar - O Happy Eyes, Love and My love dwelt in a Northern Land. It was Alice, Lady Elgar’s O Happy Eyes that I particularly loved.

All the time, quite unusually, the piano was being played by the four hands of Christine Gough and Justin Nash.This was a real treat.

But the highlight was to be the eighteen waltzes by Johannes Brahms first published in 1870 for the enjoyment of families who now owned a piano and wanted to make music together. We heard the song cycle in German of being in love, and all the stages that go to its loss. There were fine solos for the seventh and seventeenth. I also got great joy listening to the sixth, A small pretty bird, and the ninth, On the banks of the Danube.

There was an enviable professionalism about the whole event. I thoroughly enjoyed my seventy five minutes even though the Canongate Kirk is probably not the most intimate space.

Event: Saturday 5 October 2013 at 7pm.