The first of three concerts from the Elora Festival was webcast last night. It opened with a nicely produced video of the Elora singers performing Jonathan Dove’s In Beauty May I Walk which was followed by Lawrence Wiliford and Lucas Harris performing sings for lute and tenor. The lute was a weird and wonderful thing combining the usual strings with a longer theorbo like section totalling 12 courses and 23 strings. The music was all from the 17th century (as best I can tell) ranging from well known names like Purcell and Blow to others like John Beck who are likely only familiar to specialists in this rep. Anyway, it was beautifully done and makes one wish that this material would be performed more often.
The Gesualdo Six made a brief appearance with Eleanor Daley’s Grandmother Moon before we got into a somewhat revised version of last year’s Confluence At the River concert. There was no Cole Alvis but the rest of the gang produced variously socially distanced versions (sometimes presented advent calendar style) of an eclectic mix of music and poetry. The complete programme is here. It’s such a great mix of styles and songs from the night clubby tones of the effervescent Patricia O’Callaghan to beautiful classical singing from Marion Newman and Giles Tomkins to the middle eastern sound world of Suba Sankaran with great accompaniment and more from Kathryn Tremills, Dylan Bell, Andrew Downie, Bijan Sepanji, Shahin Fayaz and Larry Beckwith plus some TS Eliot from Benedict Campbell. There was even Come to the Vale of the Beautiful Don by Mrs. G. A. Gilbert who owes more stylistically to William McGonagall than Thomas Stearns Eliot.
There were interviews too. All in all it was a well curated and produced show and the sound and video (Youtube) were perfectly acceptable.