THE Pro Nobis Singers delighted a Kendal audience with their concert for Candlemas which had been adapted from their cancelled Christmas programme.

Candlemas, celebrated in Christian churches on 2nd February commemorates the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and the ancient custom of lighting candles during the service gave rise to its name. Candlemas Eve marks the end of the 40 day Christmas period, the date on which all Christmas decorations were removed, and the concert’s programme reflected this.

Much of the evening’s offerings consisted of reflective, soothing music; by its nature consisting of many dissonances, which, when resolved, provided a cathartic solace. The glorious music ranged from pieces written in the 15th century to the present day.

The programme began with Herbert Howells’ setting of The Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. The work is typical of the composer’s style: modal harmonies, flowing lines and great climaxes in which the organ, expertly played by Andy Plowman, plays a big part.

The choir made the most of the Catholic church’s wonderful acoustic and there were some magical moments in the concert, particularly Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre and O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen

A selection of readings were interspersed between pieces and read enthusiastically by David Smethurst.

Two pieces had been written by the choir’s multi talented director Clive Walkley, who was most prolific during lockdown writing a group of medieval carols, and In the Stillness.

Talented guest soloists, soprano Fay Bowness and counter tenor Michael Deakin joined the choir for the motet Sei gegrüsset, Maria by Heinrich Schütz.

The choir and soloists excelled in the final piece - an extensive setting of the Magnificat by the Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka. This joyful work consists of extended solo passages and the chorus’s role in the final mighty Amen is reminiscent of the Amen Chorus in Handel’s Messiah.

The choir’s next concert will be on Sunday 3rd April at 2.30pm at Holy Trinity and St George Catholic Church, New Road, Kendal.

Works by Brahms, Caldara, Gutierrez de Padilla and Peteris Vasks