Welcoming summer with Polymnia

On Sunday last I enjoyed a most pleasurable evening in the company of one of our premiere local chamber choirs here in Milton Keynes: Polymnia. This is only the second time I have heard them. I don’t understand why this should be, so I enquired whether it was a newish choir and learned it was started in 2006. So if you haven’t heard them either, then we’ve all been missing out.

As a singer myself, I am particularly partial to part-songs. Not only the ones I have sung myself in choirs or folk clubs, but also new ones, of course. It was the songs new to me which I found particularly appealing on this occasion, specifically Eric Whitacre’s ‘Seal Lullaby’ (which was apparently composed for a cartoon film which somehow morphed into Kung Fu Panda, leaving the song without a raison d’être) and is a mother seal crooning to her pup as they float on a benevolent sea under the eye of the moon: deceptively simple! Even more delicious – and the kind of scary-to-do number that is popular in competitions like ‘Choir of the Year’ – was John Hearne’s ‘The Seagull’: the soloist (Anna Berry) is supported by the choir singing the sounds of the sea and the creatures who live in, on and above it. Magnificent. Other delights included, perhaps inevitably, George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ (including a lovely solo from Kylie Turney); also Vaughan Williams’ ‘Three Shakespeare Songs’ which I’ve certainly never heard done better live; a clever setting by John Rutter of the two poems ‘Come live with me and be my love’ by Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe, showing the former as a cynical disavowal of the romantic (not to say soppy!) former; a glorious bit of gospel arranged by John Byron, ‘Down in the river to pray’ (Anna Berry carried this along too – what a good voice she has for this sort of material). Oh, how I wanted to join in. Oh, how my companion dug me in the ribs … ; Charles Stanford’s ‘The bluebird’ was a tiny drop of vibrant stillness in the lovely acoustic of Stony Stratford’s St Giles church. The solo this time was delightfully delivered by Rachel Maloy; and Arthur Sullivan’s super-romantic ‘The long day closes’. These were just my personal favourites from a programme of very varied goodies which also contained Elgar, Granados, the gloriously named Z Randall Stroope and two pieces for solo piano.

Their next concert is in November, when they will return to their home at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone in Milton Keynes city centre. Some of the material to come in that concert was mentioned in this programme for this one. More lusciousness! Polymnia is a meeting of talented singers interested in meeting challenges with aplomb, with a first class,  creative Musical Director (John Byron). They are obviously a very good fit for each other. I shall do my level best not to miss any more of their concerts.


Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed. BTW - it says the link to Facebook is broken. I dispute that. Click it and see, why not?

2 thoughts on “Welcoming summer with Polymnia

  1. Judi

    Many thanks for your kind and thoughtful review – Polymnia are simply the most fantastic group of singers to work with.

    I do hope you’ll consider sharing your views of our concerts in future. Let me know if you need a ticket!



  2. Several members have also said a ‘thank you’ for these few words, in various fora, John. Without a proper review function in town here it is sometimes like singing (or making any other kind of art) in the dark! And with so much always going on it is good to be able to identify the outstanding ahead of time 🙂


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