I make Cambridge my home for the next three weeks. Sarah MacDonald has very graciously set me up here in Selwyn College where I hope to settle down and get some work done – though there are plenty of distractions! I wasted no time in scoping out the college choirs and attended Evensong at King’s at 5:30 and then scooted over to St. John’s for 6:30. The atmosphere at King’s is magical – candlelight and a very large congregation, and though it was “only” the men singing tonight, it was ravishingly beautiful. I was reassured by the pace of their plain chant psalms which were sung so gracefully and with “understanding.” I felt much more at ease than with the double-time chanting I heard in London. At St. John’s I was surprised that the congregation was so small compared to King’s , but as soon as these men sang in the “dim, religious light” they produced a confident and more blended sound than Kings. If this were a football team they would have won the match 2-1 through real musical teamwork, though the plainchant was so luxurious, it was almost too slow. I took a wrong exit leaving the chapel and had to re-trace my steps. As fate would have it, I ran into Andrew Nethsingha and complimented him on his excellent men.
(Philip and Dad – what breed of cow is that in my photo? Charolais?)