The 1885 Singers Mother’s Day Concert

The 1885 Singers – Mozart and Dvorak Masses for Mother’s Day. What an unusual combo, a rarely-heard early Mozart piece followed by a more mature Dvorak work, both technically difficult and sung beautifully. I didn’t know either of them, but there’s no question of ‘Will I like the pieces?’ –  the 1885 Singers deliver a delightful evening every time.

 the 1885 Singers deliver a delightful evening every time


One mum nailed it: ‘It’s a fabulous feeling to celebrate Lent in this uplifting way, a chance to get away from it all for a moment. The choir is so together, shines together.’ Maria Laura

Mozart Mass in C major K167

This is what 17-year-old Mozart thought Mass should sound like, and bi-polar springs to mind. His joie-de-vivre shines through in the playful Kyrie, with cheeky upswings. The Gloria lulls us with some wafty fragility before a silence and a shrieky MISERERE, just to check God’s still paying attention. In the long Credo the bass voices linger accusingly on the ‘Crucifixus’ and tenderly on the ‘Mortuorum’. The music is tailored to the emotionality of every word, so on ‘descendit’ the voices go down and on ‘ascendit’ they go up. The prayer even gets semi-operatic in places with ‘Non Non Non’. His ‘Dona nobis pacem’ starts polite enough but the insistent flat-lining in my mind sounds like a Gilets Jaunes mob!

Chris Langworthy, the new Musical Director and Conductor said,  ‘Music-making is very much about the people and this choir is especially fun, warm and welcoming. Check out our next concert on 7th July which will be a banquet of old and new; Fauré, Laurensen, Goodall and more.’

The Putney Common Knitter, 75-ish, came in under a cloud after a sniffy email from a domineering older sister. ‘How do I feel is an interesting question. Energised’. Not a worshipper, ‘I was brought up by nuns and it put me off religion for life. Sin! Sin! Sin!’ she loves these 1885 concerts, they’re the only thing that will entice her back into the church, oh and voting. ‘They’re local, cheap and always enjoyable.’

Dvorak Mass in D major

After the Mozart, Dvorak felt massive, powerful, pulsing, measured, cascading, with blasts on the organ that brought on the goosebumps. Again all the emotions were there, from doom-laden to serene to redemptive.

Helen Bradshaw, soprano said: ‘I feel exhilarated and excited by the number of people who have come to the concert and who were having a beautiful experience. I also felt very proud of the way the choir reacted to the inspiring direction of Chris.’

The Organist, Alex Wilson was also a star performer. All Saints has a modern organ with the business end out in the crowd near the conductor, so it’s much easier to keep in synch. ‘This was challenging because the original is set to instruments, so I had had to arrange it for organ. Also due to the reverberant acoustics, I had to play more chunky and rhythmical to be able to guide the choir.’

This Putney community choir is some 50 strong, with a powerful soprano section, and is keen to recruit more tenors and basses. All inquiries to their website:

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