Angus concerts from Strathmore Singers

The Strathmore Singers
The Strathmore Singers

The Strathmore Singers are a Kirriemuir-based chamber choir featuring 12 voices and director Roger Clegg.

The group is venturing further afield to deliver its own special take on Christmas music this year; concerts will be performed in Arbroath and Glamis on December 20 and 22 respectively.

The hour-long programme, entitled “Christmas!”, spans 13 centuries and five countries and consists of seasonal music and readings.

From Holland comes Sweelinck’s ‘Hodie Christus Natus Est’, a wonderfully exuberant piece. In contrast Spanish-born Tomas Luis de Victoria’s ‘Ave Maria’ is much more restrained although not without its own rhythmic intricacies.

‘Maria Durch Ein Dornwald Ging’ is a German-language Advent song from the 17th century.

It has an attractive melody that is passed around the voices with interesting accompaniments.

French composer Pierre Villette’s music is a product of a musical heritage that includes Fauré and Debussy as well as jazz and the ‘Hymne a la Vierge’ is a fine example of this having an unmistakable Frenchness about it.

English composer Elizabeth Poston’s setting of ‘Jesus Christ the Apple Tree’ is by comparison a gem of mostly simple harmonies that enhance the text.

‘The Lamb’ by John Tavener has become well known and while much of this piece is devout and expressive it also has a few bars of unexpected harmonies that capture starkly the bleakness of winter.

A setting of ‘While the Shepherds Were Watching’ by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs will also be sung.

As with previous Strathmore Singers’ Christmas concerts, there will also be a selection of well-loved carols for audience participation and readings capturing some of the different moods of the Christmas period.

The first concert will be held in the St Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, Arbroath, at 7.30 p.m. on Friday, December 20, and the second concert will be held in Glamis Kirk on Sunday, December 22 at 6.30 p.m.

Entry to both concerts will be by silver collection either at the door or inside the church.

Find out more about the choir at www.strathmoresingers.co.uk