Wheeler’s I Sing And Ever Shall is a joyful testament to the central role that singing plays in the human condition. The movements of the cantata set words by poets including Emily Dickinson, Rabindranath Tagore and Robert Herrick, all of whom explore different motivations for song. In amongst them comes an energetic dance movement sung entirely to nonsense syllables inspired by Scottish mouth music and vocal exercises. This musical celebration, full of quirky melodies guaranteed to dance their way into the memory, is an exuberant love-song to song itself.
The Wheeler is framed by two Mozart masterpieces – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik sets the scene while the Great C Minor Mass forms the second half of the concert.
As is typical of Mozart, the mass, while written on a grand scale, nevertheless wears its complexity lightly; even the tautly constructed fugues are endlessly melodic and expressive. The soloists are given ample opportunity to shine, in particular the two sopranos – Mozart wrote the dazzling first soprano line for his new wife Constanza, evidently a virtuoso singer. The music as a whole is by turns rousing and soothing, but always uplifting. Pope Francis has described the Et Incarnatus Est as ‘matchless; it lifts you to God!’