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Published: 26 November 2014

By Andy Ross

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Cabaret Songs

This weekend there was a concert in St Magnus Church in Lerwick. And what a very lovely evening it was.

St Magnus Church is the Scottish Episcopal Church in Shetland, now standing surrounded by houses and buildings but once on the outskirts on town overlooking Lerwick Harbour. It is a lovely building with a distinctive stepped stone bell tower, while the inside is decorated with stained glass and hand-painted decoration on the altar walls, recently restored. If you are ever in Lerwick with a moment or two to spare, get in touch with the church and ask about the collection of textiles which is in storage. Beautiful Victorian linens, vestments and cloths, made by some of the finest manufacturers and needlewomen, and there are some very interesting kneelers in the church itself.

So, in this peaceful and beautiful setting we held our concert, including two new pieces of music written for the forces available to ffancytunes Ensemble, one for 'cello and piano, and one for voices, 'cello and piano. A good sized audience braved the weather (windy and rainy in equal gale-force measure!) to come out and hear these and some other songs, accompanied and unaccompanied. My favourites to sing were two of Benjamin Britten's Cabaret Songs, "Johnny" and "Funeral Blues". They are a wickedly wry look at life and love through the eyes of the poet Auden, with Britten's musical ear bringing the poems to life through the settings for voice and piano. Funny and touching in equal measure, here they are for you to enjoy too.

Thank you ffancytunes. It was a great evening of warmth and good music.