Vivamus were performing at the St George’s Bloomsbury last night. St George’s is a Hawksmoor church recently renovated. Unfortunately the pews have been replaced with benches. It is not a large church. I would surmise that the area for the congregation has been reduced. This is inevitable given dwindling congregations these days.
Vivamus performed a mixture of modern & renaissance music. I didn’t like any of the 20th century music & shall pass over it except to mention the composers who were Vaughan Williams, Tippet, Howells & Leighton. There was renaissance music by John Farmer, Thomas Morley & William Cornysh. The centrepiece of the evening was the Byrd 5 part mass sung not by 5 voices but by the large choir of the Vivamus. I am not against this myself,. I do prefer authenticity but there is place for this mellifluous music. Indeed when I arrived they were still rehearsing the Byrd 5-part mass. I find it hard to believe that it is a good idea to rehears so close to the concert but so-be-it that was what they did. Byrd was a Roman Catholic composer in a protestant country, England at a time when it was dangerous to be so. It was wonderful, having enjoyed the rehearsal so much, I enjoyed the performance almost as much.
Hope we hear more of Vivamus.