Suffragettes celebrated at Holy Trinity church in Hastings

Harmony One choir dressed as suffragettes SUS-180716-091638001
Harmony One choir dressed as suffragettes SUS-180716-091638001

The anniversary of the Suffrage movement has brought us some enthralling events, one of which was presented at Holy Trinity last week as part of the Lunchtime Concert series.

In the first half we heard recent compositions by Gwyneth Walker and Sarah Quartel. Gwyneth Walker’s setting of a mystical love poem I Will Be Earth is effective even if the text is often elusive. Gifts From The Sea is a longer piece which meditates on a woman’s many roles in life.

The least successful of her settings is of Tennyson’s Crossing The Bar which tends to sentimentalise.

Sarah Quartel’s song settings are more extrovert with a captivating Songbird and I Remember which could be straight out of a West End musical. The last three items proved to be far more exciting, opening with Dame Ethel Smyth’s March Of The Women. Though her works suffered in the later part of the 20th century she is beginning to be performed more widely.

The March was followed by the delightful Nana was a Suffragette – unaccompanied and decidedly impactful.

The concert concluded with Lucy Pankhurst’s setting of The Pankhurst Anthem but the assembled forces were persuaded to an encore with Rise Up Women – which we were all happy to endorse.

Debbie Warren conducted and gave the cheerful linking narration, and the choir were accompanied by Helen Ridout from the piano. By Brian Hick.