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Thread: CE Manchester Cathedral 8th Feb 2012

  1. #21
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    Leaving aside the 'chat' (which IMO showed disprespect to the CE liturgy) and the other you-know-what topic, I really enjoyed both the singing and the repertory. Manchester isn't that small (as I recall) but the acoustic isn't generous. Had it been, the choir would have sounded even more spectacular, I think. Maybe the office hymn was a bit solid. A choir has to sing an awful lot of plainsong for it to flow naturally, and here it was a bit studied. But well done Manchester and thanks for giving us assurance that a mixed treble line can work very well. My overall impression was that it was very 'fresh' singing. The Harrison organ (beautifully played) sounded rather less fresh I thought, and rather typical of Harrison voicing from the 20s and 30s. Isn't it tucked into 'boxes' behind the choir? Just a dim memory from years ago.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ardcarp View Post
    Leaving aside the 'chat' (which IMO showed disprespect to the CE liturgy) and the other you-know-what topic, I really enjoyed both the singing and the repertory. Manchester isn't that small (as I recall) but the acoustic isn't generous. Had it been, the choir would have sounded even more spectacular, I think. Maybe the office hymn was a bit solid. A choir has to sing an awful lot of plainsong for it to flow naturally, and here it was a bit studied. But well done Manchester and thanks for giving us assurance that a mixed treble line can work very well. My overall impression was that it was very 'fresh' singing. The Harrison organ (beautifully played) sounded rather less fresh I thought, and rather typical of Harrison voicing from the 20s and 30s. Isn't it tucked into 'boxes' behind the choir? Just a dim memory from years ago.
    Manchester Cathedral is an odd shape. The medieval choir is very small and narrow. The original collegiate church was expanded when it became a cathedral and it has four side aisles (two each side of the nave) which makes it, I think, wider than it is long. From memory of the last time I sang in there it is quite resonant, but there is not the long echo that you get with a more traditional shaped monastic cathedral (such as Durham, where sound takes about five seconds to get from the choir to the west wall and back again). With the large choir perhaps they were singing from the stalls in the nave (in front of the screen), where the organ would be behind them rather than around them.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by subcontrabass View Post
    Manchester Cathedral is an odd shape. The original collegiate church was expanded when it became a cathedral and it has four side aisles (two each side of the nave) which makes it, I think, wider than it is long.
    It certainly gives that impression, but actually it is longer than it is wide. (The diagram in David Pepin's book 'Discovering Cathedrals' would confirm this.)

    Thanks for all the other interesting comments, and just wanted to add that I particularly enjoyed the Eben. Caught it in recital last Sunday afternoon.

  4. #24
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    Though Manchester might make room for 'up to' 20 trebles, I was under the impression that it was more common for the choir to number nearer to fifteen or twenty strong all counted— trebles and adults combined. For most of the Judith Bingham introit—which I haven't quite decided about yet—I was a bit afraid that we were going to be hearing the smallishness of the choir coming through the acoustic and the radio mics in a less-than-desirable way. The Preces proved my assumption quite wrong, though, and I went on to thoroughly enjoy just being able to sit and listen to this service... running commentary, unfamiliar music and all.

    The choir themselves sounded just right to me, and the recording balance, apart from a few spots where I found myself with an earbudful of one or two voices, didn't seem as skewed as it perhaps has in a few of the last couple of weeks. Lovely, bold, clear sound from the trebles in what I found to be largely a bright, merry service. 'Jolly', as @DracoM has already put it! I thought the Britten Jubilate Deo terrific, but then again, maybe it's just that sort of piece; I loved it here, certainly, but I don't know that I've ever heard it and disliked it. Quirk of mine this well may be, but hearing such a 'joyful noise' from a foundation where boys and girls are singing together always makes me particularly glad.

    In short: a very enjoyable service of unfamiliar music sung wonderfully. Thanks to all involved, and I hope to hear from Manchester in some capacity again soon.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Op. XXXIX View Post
    It certainly gives that impression, but actually it is longer than it is wide. (The diagram in David Pepin's book 'Discovering Cathedrals' would confirm this.)
    The plan on the cathedral website (http://www.manchestercathedral.org/virtual-tours/) also confirms that.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Op. XXXIX View Post
    Thanks for all the other interesting comments, and just wanted to add that I particularly enjoyed the Eben. Caught it in recital last Sunday afternoon.
    The Eben was very well played but, I agree with others, supremely let down not by the instrument but by the the engineered sound. Yes, the building there can never gild the sound or add bloom but the instrument as well as the choir needed to be given as much space as possible and they weren't it seems to me as so often these days. The effect was to make the voicing (admittedly not much tweaked anyway since the 70s) seem particularly tired and thin, when to my memory it isn't, or at least wasn't.

  7. #27
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    ...anorak on...isn't there some talk of a new organ at Manchester?

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ardcarp View Post
    ...anorak on...isn't there some talk of a new organ at Manchester?
    My anorak is on also and I found this on the website http://www.manchestercathedral.org/d...ject/new-organ

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Diapason View Post
    My anorak is on also and I found this on the website http://www.manchestercathedral.org/d...ject/new-organ
    Looks good! The difficult bit is deciding whether you want it to do French blood-and-guts, Baroque clinical....or the Anglican repertory. Nigh impossible to get something that does everything well, especially if you tune it to Gormenghast VII.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DracoM View Post
    Could not disagree with you more, VCC. What a miserably, miserly, unsmiling response to this quite jolly service! I grant St Barry was not on the podium, but, for goodness' sake.....
    The canticles had nicely balanced groupings, interesting and distinctive solo voices, and plenty of energy and musicality, and it was refreshing to hear both Gabrieli and Britten.

    And no-one has commented on the Judith Bingham? Inventive? Worth getting a first perf? Welcome addition to the repertoire?
    Draco, I do so agree with your thoughts there.
    I've only just managed to catch up with this CE whilst in the library...
    I thoroughly enjoyed it all, apart from the Gabrieli which just rambled on and simply isn't to my personal taste. I particularly enjoyed the Corpus Christi Carol - Judith Bingham's music never fails to delight me.
    Speaking of delight, I was absolutely rapt with the first lesson and the reader absolutely brought alive what is often read in a very stilted and rather turgid manner. Thank you so much for bringing new life and meaning to it for me!
    I thought the whole choir sounded as if they were thoroughly enjoying their afternoon in the sun and that treble soloist did a cracking job.
    I loved the Eben and Mr Makinson's interpretation. Shame it didn't have a bigger acoustic to allow it to resonate.

    Thanks to all at Manchester for warming up a very cold morning here in the library! All best wishes for the future. Liz

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