It is obviously quite impossible to be an objective music critic when one is a participant in a performance.  However, the praise heaped upon us by complete strangers from Arizona as we left the church on the conclusion of the Saturday evening concert at San Stefano, was astounding. They couldn’t find words sufficiently superlative to praise the performance. They politely asked permission to send us by email the photographs they had taken as a memento of a most wonderful evening.


From our point of view, the experience of singing in beautiful surroundings such as San Lorenzo (in particular) was a privilege, very emotional and moving. The Basilica of San Lorenzo leant itself perfectly to a capella singing as it has a very long reverberation time and clear dynamics, due to the rectangular plan and the lack of a transept - which tended to muffle sound in later church design.


Both performances must have been exemplary because the audience responded magnificently each time, with applause of real fervour, perhaps due to the Italian blood and the local red wine!


Lydia’s performances on both occasions were as we have come to expect, full of feeling and verve. 


Steven conducted in an assured and energetic style and was pushing us nearer to his concept of perfection with each extra rehearsal and performance. He really was a Maestro, in control of the whole situation. Particularly impressive was the (apparently) immaculate Italian with which he introduced the items to the audience, while we ourselves were attempting to sing in our very best English and Latin.


Despite leaving home without one, I managed to find the obligatory black shirt. A Policewoman who threatened to arrest me was pacified when I explained I was a Grandfather and not a Godfather.


Mike Cummings Bass 2