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The Gathering Wave 2012 Review

3rd September 2012

Glowing review of The Gathering Wave, performed in Hereford Cathedral on 28th August 2012, by Roderick Dunnett for The Church Times

Full review of Three Choirs Festival by Roderick Dunnett available here

In recent years the Three Choirs has rightly placed an emphasis on community involvement - and with some rather remarkable results.  Right at the end of the week, a collective choir drawn from ten enthusiastic ensembles across the county, plus a splendid (and very young) collection of children from local primary schools, served up a programme called 'The Gatehring Wave'.  Some 16 items, some extended, couched in six or more languages (none of which seemed to phase this plucky chorus, whose enunciation - not least the children's - was dazzlingly good), delighted.
The choir had not just expression and flair, but an unexpectedly galvanising command of rhythm and fine tuning.  This was a tight, attentive ensemble, whose precision seemed all the more impressive given their different provenances. 

Inevitably the greatest pleasure came from a series of South African songs, led by characterful soloist Njabulo Madlala, including the wonderful 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika' ('God bless Africa'); but there was much else, of which the most important was a perky travelogue (a Three Choirs commission) from Bernard Hughes, which with its helter-skelter world tour, inspired by Hereford's medieval Mappa Mundi, picked up the theme of Travel and the Sea (as did the concert's title) which was central to this year's festival.

The icing on the cake was the gracious and entertainingly self-mocking compering of Hereford's Dean, the Very Revd. Michael Tavinor, which interspersed with generosity and seriousness was frankly a hoot.

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