2 October 2018
Even a heathen must respond to the dignity and majesty of the best of churches. This was the Holy Trinity Church just off Sloane Square. Not hugely old with design from the period of the Arts & Crafts movement but it’s gone through it own wars or at least suffered serious damage in WW2 and has been rebuilt. The damage is sometimes evident in lunettes or stained glass windows that are left blank or areas of wall in a different hue. But there are also coloured marbles and metal works of the period and voluptuous statues. Church attendance is not what it was, so this space seems pretty large for the few at this service of choral evensong and benediction, but in the modern way, the upside is that you get to meet some parishioners and celebrants. We spoke with the priest/minister as we left. He’d been to Australia twice but not to Canberra. Presumably also not Melbourne as he wanted to visit the site of Dame Edna’s past. He laughs easily at Barry Humphreys, most recently at the Barbican, no less! Whatever, this is just chatter with tourists. We were here for the dignity and beauty of the musical service. One Bach and a chance to sing along for a few other works (I only knew All things bright and beautiful and from the stronger chorusing, I’m sure most other were in that league). But the pipe organ was impressive, sometimes delicate, and the soprano soloist from the church choir, she who was leading the singing, was delicious at best. It was odd to see her out of robes and into street garb with red backpack at the end. It’s all pretty normal outside, despite the dignity and majesty of the occasion and the music. I left with a feeling of serenity. It’s not for nothing that the atheists are recreating something similar but Godless, but you have to admit that the churches have a big head start to catch up on.
Choral Evensong and Benediction was celebrated at the Holy Trinity Church just off Sloane Square, London. It was sung by Harriet Houghton Slade (soprano) with accompaniment by Oliver Lallemant (organ).