Ca­nine Ves­pers

BBC Music Magazine - - LETTERS -

Your piece on cat­a­strophic can­cel­la­tions (De­cem­ber) brought back a mem­ory of quite the op­po­site. Un­til 2007, I sang with a small cham­ber choir in south-west France where our brief was to take music to out­ly­ing set­tle­ments which rarely had live con­certs. One warm Septem­ber evening we were do­ing an un­ac­com­pa­nied pro­gramme of music for the Vir­gin Mary in a church in Lauzerte, a small town in the mid­dle of nowhere, and be­cause of the heat the doors at the end of the nave were kept open. One piece was the ‘Ave Maris Stella’ from Mon­teverdi’s 1610 Ves­pers, in which we spread the six verses between var­i­ous voices and soloists. At the point that our so­prano soloist started, a large mon­grel dog wan­dered in through the open door and down the nave. He stopped and lis­tened to Marie-madeleine for a se­cond or two, then joined in with her to the end of the verse. He did have quite a rea­son­able mezzo howl. With French sang-froid, she did not miss a note and con­tin­ued un­til the end. Here the dog turned round and trot­ted off back out of the church. Happy days. David East­wood, Sher­ing­ham

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