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Angelic Voices: The Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral
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Sheep munching in the meadow, John Betjeman waxing lyrical, rib vault ceilings and the soaring notes of SS Wesley’s Love One Another... On the surface, this clean-cut film depicts a world of crisp ruffs and arcane ritual (I longed to hear a few slovenly vowels or see a smudged, Just William-ish face). But in many ways it’s about life: childhood, competition and moving on. It ends up being surprisingly moving.
It follows 32 young choristers – boys and girls – through auditions and rehearsals for Holy Week but, although this isn’t some kind of ecclesiastical X Factor, the programme does celebrate a nerveless ability to sing live that puts many pop wannabes to shame. And gives us Byrd, Stanford, Purcell and other purveyors of the spine-tingling chord change.
The lives of the 32 boys and girls, aged between eight and 13, who perform in the Salisbury Cathedral Choir. The programme explores the choir's 900-year-old tradition, charts the development of choral music in Britain through the centuries and discovers how the choristers combine the demands of daily rehearsals with their schoolwork. The film also follows a group of 13-year-old singers as they prepare to give their final performances with the choir.
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