Jane B (knally) wrote,
Jane B
knally

John Taverner's Annunciation

I've just been to the Advent Carol Service in Winchester Cathedral. I haven't been for a few years, but it has wonderful singing. The main reason I wanted to go was I expected them to use the Annunciation Anthem by John Taverner who died recently.

They did and it was just as stunning as I remembered. The words are taken from St Luke:

How shall this be, seeing I know not a man:
Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women.


The choir had progressed down the cathedral so they were at the West Door, but four girl choristers remained in the choir end.
They sang the first line, which sounded fragile in the vast cathedral.

Then the entire rest of the choir comes in with "HAIL", an utter wall of sound, and they repeat that four times. Then they sing the rest of the line, and it seems like the various parts of the choir, sopranos, altos, tenors, baritones and bases interweave like a tapestry.
The four choristers sing their line again, and the choir replies. And then the choir sings the last line and the word 'Blessed' somehow seems radiant, full of light. And then far in the distance the four soloists sing their line again, and it's sad and fearful. The whole work just captures the story of the Annunciation and it's breathtaking.
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