Hear My Prayer review

 Hear My Prayer is reviewed in the Church of St Mary with St Alban parish magazine:

The recent concert given in St Mary’s Church, Teddington by Ishirini – an a capella choir of 18 amazing ex-Cambridge singers – defied categorisation.

The music covered an ancient-in-time traditional Nepali antiphonal chant, accompanied by strident brass mini-cymbals, works by three C16th composers (Phillips, Victoria and Handl), two C19th ones (Bruckner and Mendelssohn) as well as two living composers (Jonathan Dove and Peter Allwood, the latter not only living but also present and conducting his own work).

The disparate music was united by its common theme: Prayer, hinted at by the colourful Himalayan prayer flags adorning the programme cover.  The words of each piece were indeed prayers to a God or Higher Being – sung in English, or Latin, or German, or Bengali, or Newari.  Even the organ interlude by Tarik O’Regan alluded in a way to the theme because the work’s title, Colimaçon, means snail in French, and the choir’s director and organist, Jeremy Rouse, when he introduced the work, likened the spiral shape of a snail shell to the smoke of prayers being sung or chanted and spiralling heavenwards.

A gratifyingly large audience, with an age range from under 1 to over 90, was enthralled by the wonderful singing, superb musicianship and smiling and happy demeanour of the choristers.  It was a privilege to be served such a (Lenten) feast.  

The choir will shortly take this progamme to Kathmandu where they will be holding workshops with schoolchildren and collaborating with students from the Kathmandu University Music Faculty in Bhaktapur.  This concert raised over £1,000  which, together with any further donations,  will go towards their rebuilding projects after the latest devastating earthquake and subsequent flooding.   

Susan Jacobs



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