He’s a good man, is Tim Farron. My response would have been far less nice

06 December 2017 | by Melanie McDonagh

Melanie McDonagh's Notebook


MY ADVENT TREAT was a concert for the season at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, of music from Ora, a choir directed and created by Suzi Digby. It performs both old music and pieces she commissions by contemporary composers. The whole thing was rather magical, with the first part taking place in the Chelsea pensioners’ refectory, where the benches are overlooked by portraits of the kings and queens since Charles II, who founded the hospital. From there, we processed to the chapel where we sat in the choir stalls. And that part started off with a new piece by John Rutter, “Suzi’s Carol”, written for and dedicated to her: a setting of an early modern poem. It was, I had to admit, classy to have a Rutter carol of your very own.

The great man himself was there, looking terrifically hale. I can say right now that although I greatly admire his arrangements of choral pieces, I’m less taken by his own compositions and will go out of my way to avoid his “Gaelic Blessing”.

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