The Sixteen (Ealing Abbey)

Originally published on my LiveJournal blog on 29 September 2011.

Last night we attended the latest date on The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage 2011, where music is performed in cathedrals, churches and town halls around the country. In Ealing there is a beautiful abbey (still a working Benedictine monastery) which provided the perfect setting for ‘Hail, Mother of the Redeemer’, a selection of pieces by Tom├ís Luis de Victoria.

The Sixteen is a London based professional ensemble comprising choir and period-instrument ensemble – founded by Harry Christophers 32 years ago, who remains their conductor around his many other engagements (including conducting opera).  Confusingly on the website sixteen singers are depicted but I counted eighteen last night!  Anything from counter tenor and soprano through to alto, tenor, baritone and bass are represented in their range of voices which, when combined, make a most uplifting sound.

You don’t have to be religious or to understand the Latin texts of the pieces sung to truly become absorbed in the melodies which can be created by the human voice.  It truly is the most magical of instruments.

This was my first experience of the Choral Pilgrimage, and I am happy it came to West London.  Despite the constant presence of aeroplanes taking off from Heathrow directly above our heads every few minutes the venue was very fitting for Victoria’s music, and it was a very enjoyable couple of hours.