Review of Ely Cathedral’s Science Prom on Saturday 17th June 2017

What a delightful concert with a difference! An amazing array of very varied music was presented in the ‘Science Prom’ in Ely Cathedral on Saturday. There is no end to Director of Music Paul Trepte’s talent and versatility. Not only were works of first class quality and performance from the Ely Cathedral Choirs, we were treated to a number of very popular songs sung by Ely Choristers , Ely Imps and Ely Cathedral’s Girls’ Choir. ‘Fatty acid biosynthesis’ by Harold Baum to the tune of Men of Harlech was certainly an unexpected pleasure.

To top it off, Prime Brass, a well-known exceptionally talented group of brass players, entertained us with wonderful performances of pieces such as ‘Fly me to the Moon’ by Barry Howard arranged by Tim Redmond, as well as accompanying the choirs magnificently.

Guy Llewellyn’s arrangements certainly caught the spirit of ‘Mars’ (The Planets by Gustav Holst) and ‘Interstellar’ magnificently.

Sarah MacDonald, usually known as director of Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir, proved herself an excellent pianist and contributed significantly to events. The variations of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ by Mozart were one of the many delights she played very skilfully.

With genius Edmund Aldhouse at the organ and a thrilling percussion ensemble pieces throbbed with primeval rhythms than evoked the enormity of space and its impact.

Special highlights for me were the opening pieces that immediately provided the ‘wow’ factor: ‘Sunrise’ Also sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey) by Richard Strauss and Guy’s arrangement of ‘Mars’ first performed in this concert.  The excruciating thrill of the high voices in Ron Grainer’s arrangement of ‘Dr Who’, the eerie accompaniment of wine glasses in ‘Stars’ by Ēriks Ešenvalds, and the finale when all joined in ‘Space Oddity (‘Ground control to Major Tom’ by David Bowie arranged by Paul Trepte were phenomenal.

However, the crowning moment must be when the stage was invaded by the daleks from the Dr Who television series and they interrupted proceedings by threatening the conductor Paul Trepte and were only appeased when he invited them the join in the conduction. The sight was unforgettable!

A  future occasion when you will have the opportunity of hearing some of these amazing musicians will be on The Fest Day of St. Etheldreda on Sunday 25th June: 1030 am Festal Eucharist and 4 pm Festal Evensong and Procession.

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