Steeple of Exeter College Chapel, OxfordSaturday evening saw a rare excursion into the world of high culture in the shape of a concert by The City of Oxford Choir in Exeter College chapel.

It was a concert of two halves. The first half was based around the Missa Festiva (op. 154) by Alexandre Gretchaninov, whilst the second half was the Requiem(op 9) by Duruflé.

One of the features of this particular choir is the care with which the programme is constructed. On this occasion the different elements of the Missa were interspersed with complementary pieces by other composers – the idea being to suggest the way in which it would normally be broken up by other material in a liturgical setting, rather than being sung as a continual piece.

musical notes on manuscriptAnother feature of the choir and their attendant soloists and organist is that they are really very good. The music really did fill the chapel and many members of the audience listened with their eyes closed (although this may have been partly to avoid the ghastly Victorian excesses of Gilbert Scott’s architecture and decor).

Attention to detail extended to the printed programme which included the full text of the pieces in Latin (complete with filoque clause) and English.

The evening was rounded off with a visit to The Nosebag for some welcome post concert refreshments. Who says I can’t do culture?