Renowned Mezzo Soprano Patricia Hammond and her musical partner Matt Redman have recorded a series of vintage songs on the theme of ‘home’ from the beautiful surroundings of St Mellitus Church in North London’s Stroud Green.
Many of us have been and are still at home, missing and in some cases mourning the loss of friends and family. The theme is particularly poignant in the context of St Mellitus, home to the unique Hunter First World War Memorial Organ, which commemorates the men from the parish who went to fight in the war, many of whom never came home.
“It was incredibly poignant for us to perform songs about coming home in an empty church at this time, thinking of a hundred years ago when the world was devastated by deadly influenza and people mourned the fallen. We’ve spent four years commemorating the First World War, but never seen a memorial to those who returned.” Patricia Hammond.
The seven songs are released every evening for a week, for people to listen to in their own homes. They range from Victorian hymns, to Edwardian songs and popular songs from the 1920s and 1930s. Multi-instrumentalist and music researcher Matt Redman has interpreted the songs using a range of historic instruments, including a Victorian Mandolin, a Gibson guitar from 1911 and a zither banjo that made its’ own journey to the Western Front and returned to the UK in 1919. Patricia makes wonderful use of the humanatone (nose flute) in the 1930s standard When Shadows Fall.
Four of the songs feature a small chamber organ, also built by FH Browne & Son and currently in the church whilst the Hunter organ is being restored (and currently up for sale as a donation to the project from FH Browne), has also been used in some of the songs.
Mezzo Soprano Patricia Hammond and her musical partner Matt Redman have been featured on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 and performed in venues around the world, including a First World War commemorative event at the Bundestag in Berlin.
The songs are available on the St Mellitus Organ Restoration Project’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF1mU6IA_7aaS4HP-p9hjhw
Please do listen, subscribe and share.