It begins with a low hum, no words and a whooshing sound like a wind from somewhere, through leaves in a forest perhaps. Before the choirs fully enter for an hour of music that has charmed my whole day, since Elizabeth Alker played some of it on the early Saturday morning programme that’s always one of my favourite times of the week. Up early, putting on the Saturday wash in the quiet house, at the same time as Elizabeth’s programme and some coffee. Content then for a couple of hours and listening out for the knowns and unknowns I know are coming.
This morning the unknown discovery was by Anna Lapwood and the Choirs of Pembroke College, Cambridge. Including the Pembroke College Girls’ Choir for 11-18 year olds. Anna herself, the Director of Music at Pembroke College, and not that much older than the girls of the choir, is committed to bringing “musical opportunities to as many children as possible.” And here’s one result of all their work.
Packed with the works of female composers too, known and unknown to me. Let’s hear their names: Kerry Andrew, Elizabeth Poston, Anna Lapwood, Sally Beamish, Katrina Shepherd, Kerensa Briggs, Caroline Shaw, Amy Beach, Eleanor Daley, Mary Louise Martin, Rebecca Clarke, Imogen Holst, Laura Mvula, and some men too.
But that’s enough detail. I’m only writing this to encourage you to go and listen to all of their music, on this exquisite album they’ve made. That begins with that whooshing introduction to the old English title song I’d always associated with Judy Collins, until now.
“All things are quite silent.”
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm,
For love is strong as death.