Christmas can be a tricky time, so I decided to get medieval on it. I went to see ‘The Telling’ on their ‘Secret Life of Carols’ tour. According to them, Classic FM would play their festive CD over Bing Crosby! The mood was set in the candle lit 15th century St Clement’s church. Two voices could be heard and I glanced toward the protruding angel faces under the arched window to see if they were responsible.
They looked decidedly put out as two ladies holding candles appeared, one at the back and one at the front of the church. No microphones were needed as the sound lifted up to the tall stone arches and made their beautiful harmonies seem like live stereo. Moving slowly, Clare Norburn and Ariane Prüsser joined Finnish harpist, Kaisa Pulkkinen for a night of medieval and traditional European carols.
They sang in the original languages so I was lucky to have been given a programme with the English translations. Even though it was too dark to see the translations, they performed them animatedly so you didn’t need to. There was also a screen showing the wonderful animation of Kate Anderson which depicted the feeling of the songs.
Feelings which the ‘miller’ in Chaucers tale wooed the ladies with, citing the song ‘Angelus Ad Virginem’. The Finnish traditional carol ‘Maa On Niin Kaunis’ was played as an instrumental on the harp and accompanied by the Moomin-like animated landscape on the screen. This had a very delicate yet powerful effect.
The ladies had great rapport and used the space in the church to create some sublime sounds. Bing who??