MUSIC REVIEW: Town recital gives Easter its right and proper place

PASSION NIGHT: Daffodils outside All Saints Church in Holbeach where the recital of John Stainer's 19th century choral work, The Crucifixion, was performed by Holbeach Church Choir, conducted by Barry Lancaster.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  
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PASSION NIGHT: Daffodils outside All Saints Church in Holbeach where the recital of John Stainer's 19th century choral work, The Crucifixion, was performed by Holbeach Church Choir, conducted by Barry Lancaster. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG140317-111TW.
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Stainer’s The Crucifixion, Holbeach Parish Church Choir conducted by Barry Lancaster, with Howard Clinkard (tenor) and Dominic Rose (baritone)

Two weeks before the most important date in the Christian calendar, All Saints Church in Holbeach put Easter in its true context on Sunday night.

The work of Victorian musician John Stainer, professor at Oxford University, as well as both chorister and organist at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, was majestically brought to life by Holbeach Parish Church Choir. Conducted by the church’s musical director, Barry Lancaster, The Crucifixion’s magnificence was enhanced by guest tenor Howard Clinkard and baritone Dominic Rose.

The Crucifixion itself was a mix of solos, choruses and anthemic hymns, all of which spoke of the “agony, mystery, majesty and appeal”, according to Stainer, of the death of Jesus Christ.

But what made this recital stand out was the chance for the public to join the choir for the privilege of making All Saints Church reverberate to the sounds of what Stainer himself called “a Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer”.

Words such as “Jesus bowed in bitter anguish”, Fling wide the gates for the Saviour waits” and Jesus the Crucified pleads for me” made The Crucifixion an evensong to remember in Holbeach for years to come.

Review by Winston Brown