The Friends of the Georgian Society of Jamaica celebrate their 20th anniversary with a joyous mix of music inspired by Latin-American rhythms, gospel spirituals and the music of Jamaica itself. As the centrepiece, London chamber choir Londinium, conducted by Andrew Griffiths, sings Ariel Ramirez’s stunning Misa Criolla with Christopher Diffey, one of this generation’s up-and-coming tenors, as soloist. Traditional instruments, played by Carlos Muñoz Villalobos, Leo Turner and Armando Murillo (who also play Latin-American instrumental items during the concert), imbue the Spanish text with the Latin-American sounds and rhythms of Ramirez’s native Argentina. The programme features choral music by contemporary Jamaican composers, including Eleanor Alberga’s vivacious My heart danceth, written in 2007, and a traditional setting of Psalm 27 by Noel Dexter, together with arrangements of spirituals and folksongs by Andrew Marshall and the distinguished musicologist Olive Lewin (who died last year). The charming nineteenth-century part song Water-lilies, from Songs of the River, provides a rare chance to hear music by the Jamaican-born British composer, Sir Frederic Cowen, esteemed in his day, but now almost forgotten. Sir Michael Tippett could not be more English, but he sought inspiration for his much-loved Five Negro Spirituals (from ‘A Child of Our Time’) elsewhere; it spans the continents, fusing the directness of the gospel spiritual with his own distinctive musical style.
The concert raises funds for the Friends of the Georgian Society of Jamaica, a registered charity dedicated to the preservation, restoration and maintenance of Jamaica’s historic buildings.
- Misa Criolla
- Ariel Ramírez (1921-2010)
- 5 Negro Spirituals from A Child of our Time
- Sir Michael Tippett (1905-1998)
- My heart danceth
- Eleanor Alberga (1949-)