Today's concert by Gloriana, The Road to Paradise, opened with works by the 16th century composers Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and Robert Parsons. The 20th and 21st centuries were represented by Gabriel Jackson, Jonathan Dove, Tarik O'Regan, Michael Tippett, John Taverner and Herbert Howells.
The program was challenging both for the performers and the audience, opening with Tallis's lengthy Lamentations of Jeremiah and concluding with Howells' anguished and harrowing Take him, earth, for cherishing, composed in 1964 for a memorial service for John F Kennedy.
Tarik O'Regan's setting of Kathleen Raine's poem Who stands at my door in the storm and rain. In his comprehensive program notes, Gloriana's director Andrew Raiskums draws a connection between the work and Hurricane Katrina, with O'Regan's composition being completed on 29 August 2006, exactly one year after the hurricane devastated New Orleans. He writes that the poem 'can be seen to echo the conflcted and anguished thoughts of the displaced ...'. Both the text and the music speak eloquently of sorrow and pain.
The picture shows the spire of St Mark's Anglican Church in George Street Fitzroy, the venue for today's concert. It is very handy to the Napier Hotel, favoured by both audience and choristers for post-concert refreshments.