GATHERING together in Bath for the annual festival had a uniquely poignant atmosphere, enhanced by the ancient setting of the Roman Baths, when the Gesualdo Six sang a programme of 14 songs with a watery theme last night.
After months of lock-downs and cancellations, the joy of live performance was shared equally by the singers and audience, albeit fewer than usual, socially distanced and masked for the occasion. Thank goodness earplugs were not part of prescribed PPE!
Two one-hour performances gave the maximum opportunities for festival-goers to enjoy the beautiful music, which started with William Byrd’s This Sweet and Merry Month of May, continuing with Bristol-based composer David Bednall’s Put Out into the Deep.
The programme also included works by Palestrina, Taverner, Hildegard of Bingen, Campion, Tallis, Wilbye and three newer arrangements of folk songs, as well as Aquam quam ego dabo by Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso (1556-1650), which for me was the highlight of the evening.
It was the perfect way to return to the joys of festival live performance, gently, in a magnificent setting, with the sounds of the centuries to tell us that there is life after Covid. GP-W