When you combine the resources of three choruses in the reverbant spaces of a large cathedral, you have what's needed to perform such famous Renaissance choral works as the "Stabat Mater" by Palestrina, and even more unusually, the famous 40-part motet, "Spem in Alium," by Thomas Tallis.
That is what happened yesterday afternoonin Washington Cathedral when that institution's choir of men and boys and the Wareham Chorale joined the Cahtedral Choral Society.
The Palestrina was sung by the proper solo quartet, answered by double choir. The Tallis, a unique score in music history, moved in waves across the front of the cathedral as each of eight five-part choirs sang in procession, at times joining in a glorious sea of sound.
The day' large choral forces had a moment of rest during which the Cathedral choir, with its treble soloist, Simon Jackson, dealt exquisitely with mendelssohn's famous "O for the wings of a dove."
The afternoon, in which William Stokes played three great chorale preludes of Bach, came to a close with Richard Dirksen's festal setting of the story of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego in which Paul Callaway led the choir, Robert Zboray his Wareham singers, and the composer the Choral Society. It made an afternoon of beautiful choral song.