Review of Ely Choral Society’s ‘Monarchy Restored’ in the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral on Saturday 26th October 2013

In ‘Monarchy Restored’, Ely Choral Society, under the expert directorship of Andrew Parnell, brought alive the sense of joy and pleasure that music of the finest quality engenders. At the time of the Restoration the revival of music for the King and his court brought about the composition of a number of magnificent works. 

Composers featured included Henry Purcell, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Pelham Humphrey and John Blow. Ely Choral Society’s large chorus filled the Lady Chapel with glorious sounds, especially in the joyous, precise opening of ‘Jubilate Deo in D’ by Purcell, the highly effective expressiveness in ‘O Lord my God’ by Pelham Humphrey, the beauty of ‘Let Thy hand be strengthened’ by John Blow and in the grand finale of ‘Come ye Sons of Art’ by Purcell.  

The choir were joined by some excellent, well-selected musicians. The soloists were outstanding: Ashley Harries (counter-tenor), Mark Gotham (bass), David Calvert (tenor), Catriona Clark (soprano) and Karl Read (counter-tenor). They were supported by a first-class orchestra: The Ely Festival Players led by Helen Medlock. Edmund Aldhouse, a relatively new face to the musical community of Ely, accompanied sensitively and faultlessly on the organ.

Highlights for me were ‘Let Thy hand be strengthened’ and ‘Ode on the death of Mr Henry Purcell’ by John Blow and the final ‘Come ye Sons of Art’. The recorders and restrained impulse of the sonorous continuo (organ and cello) created a most impressive gentle homage to the great composer Purcell in the ‘Ode’ on his death.  Ashley Harries shone in the final ‘Come ye Sons of Art’ and the duet of the counter-tenors was especially effective. The contributions of Catriona Clark, Mark Gotham and the chorus in the final movement of this work brought this celebration of the restoration of the monarchy to a most fitting and glorious close. 

More events to enjoy include:

Ely Choral Society:

 Sunday 8th December 2013, 7 pm St Mary’s Church, Ely ‘Christmas Concert’

Saturday 12th April 2014, 7.30 pm Ely Cathedral ‘Requiem’ by Mozart

Saturday 12th July 2014, 7.30 pm Hayward Theatre, The Kings School Ely, ‘Concert version of Carmen, Bizet’


Ely Sinfonia:

Saturday 22nd March 2014, 730 pm, Ely Cathedral ‘An Elgar Celebration’


Ely Consort:

Saturday 30th November 2013, 730 pm, St. Andrew’s Church, Soham ‘Britten and Howells anniversaries and music for Advent’


Ely Youth Choir (conducted by Andrew Parnell):

16th November Ely Cathedral Christmas Fair guest appearance

8th December Ely Choral Society Christmas Concert

6th April 2014 Ely Youth Choir Festival

12th April Ely Choral Society Spring Concert

15th June Prom at the Palace – family concert the Old Palace

June Integrated Youth Choir – Fundraiser for Highfield School

12th July Carmen – Ely Choral Society Summer concert

(for more information about this choir contact or contact Ely Youth Choir’s Administrator Mrs Sylvia Bulley, tel: (01353 774733 ) or email: youth

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