April 17, 2012
Rehearsals are now in full swing. The production takes shape. We break now and again to watch TV drama documentaries related to the subject, some good, some not, which arouse much laughter in the room.
All the music our composer Paul Englishby has written for the production is for the voice. It is sacred music in the style of Tallis and Byrd and we are lucky to have a small choir of five singers.
When they first come to sing at rehearsals the sound they make is astonishingly beautiful and when they finish the whole room bursts into wild applause.
There are tears in my eyes. The full company are to sing a three-part Catholic Gaude Gloriosa for the Virgin Mary which Paul has composed.
Unlike the professional singers it takes us many rehearsals to learn the tune and the harmonies, but eventually we make a pretty good sound. Even Paul is pleased.
We watch an episode of a documentary series in which actor and former chorister Simon Russell Beale explores the flowering of Western sacred music.
I have worked with Simon who is a terrific actor, extremely intelligent and is now effortlessly presenting this series. My God, he'll be compiling cryptic crosswords for The Guardian next.
by James Hayes
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