Vox Luna is a chamber choir directed by Alex Woolf. He’s a conspicuously successful and versatile young composer who must be so busy, but always appears calm and cheerful – I don’t know how he does it. The choir make a ravishing sound, so it was appropriate to hear them in in the also ravishing surroundings of the Wallace Collection. Having walked to the gallery via Jermyn and Bond Streets, with their luxury shops Christmas lit in the most extreme fashion, my senses were turned up to the max.
In the past, my vague impression of the Wallace has been that it’s a collection that doesn’t know where to stop, with its particular preponderance of highly decorative French paintings and furniture, some of it just a bit much for my taste. And in fact that’s sometimes how I feel about recitals of Christmas musical fare, one richly harmonised bonbon after another. I think this is why I’m always happy to hear John Tavener’s The Lamb, whose spareness leavens many musical blowouts at this time of year.
On the December carols trail at the moment, it’s become clear to me that the spoken word is a most welcome ingredient in the musical plum pudding. While Vox Luna took a deserved break we listened to the perfect interval feature, a short talk about the fabulous Great Gallery (‘the greatest picture gallery in Europe’ – Sir Kenneth Clark) in which we were seated. Bravo, and thanks, to this talented choir and conductor for a powerfully festive experience.