GLORIA - this was a well-named title for glorious music ably performed by Lancaster and District Choral Society at Lancaster Priory, writes MARGARET PATTINSON.

The performance was under the energetic direction of John Perrin and with the expertise of Ian Pattinson, the Priory organist, who managed to produce lovely orchestral sounds and colours from the magnificent Priory organ.

The concert opened with Puccini`s Messa di Gloria. This was written when Puccini was 21 and is very operatic in style. It is set for choir with a solo tenor and solo bass. The soloists Christopher Steele and John Anthony Cunningham matched the rich operatic quality needed and blended well together.

This was followed by one of the evening`s works by Parry - Blest Pair of Sirens. The choir were singing this to mark the centenary of Parry`s death in 1918. In this the organ accompaniment plays a very important part and the choir sang with gusto.

After the interval the main work was Haydn`s Saint Nicholas Mass and we were treated to more music by Parry (later in the concert). Before these we heard John Taverner`s Song for Athene, which gave us contemplative unaccompanied music and a change in texture. The choir had intonation problems in this work and were very much happier singing with an accompaniment as in the other works.

Haydn`s sunny Saint Nicholas Mass introduced us to the solo soprano, Juliet Montgomery, and solo alto, Rebecca Chandler. These voices sing sections of the work in quartet settings with the tenor and bass. This work was an appropriate choice as it is a Mass written for the season of Advent.

As this work is primarily written for orchestral accompaniment, the organ had to skilfully reproduce the quality of orchestral sounds, which Ian Pattinson managed very well.

The evening finished with Parry`s famous I was Glad.

In spite of a long concert, with masses of work for the choir, the forces managed to maintain the momentum throughout and obviously enjoyed themselves.