As part of Chanctonbury Chorus' 25th Anniversary, on Saturday they performed a 35-minute rapturous hymn to choral and vocal music under the inspiring direction of Siobhan Denning.

The concert neatly coincided with the 60th birthday year of the internationally acclaimed composer Michael Finnissy, who happens to live in Steyning where the Chorus is based.

Partly because of the round happenstance meeting of these dates, place and people, Chanctonbury Chorus commissioned Finnissy to compose Favourite Poets, a remarkable work full of vocal and instrumental colour, striking invention and musical architecture.

Indeed, with its new musical language, this was an extremely challenging work for any amateur chorus, but the commission appointees rose to meet it with a focused determination, an honest openness and, in places, sheer delight.

At times, particularly in quieter passages, the choir produced a lovely warm sound and clearly had a lot of fun singing about "a pig that sat alone", during the light and lively setting of a tragic-comic poem by Lewis Carroll.

The small professional orchestra supported the choir superbly throughout and the instrumentation was the same as that originally used by Gabriel Faur in his Requiem.

It was ably performed here after the interval as an effective contrast to the magnificent opening half.

Both works also benefited from the beautiful building in which the concert took place.

Michael Finnissy cleverly set the words of seven poets, including Edward Carpenter and Vladimir Smolenskii, across nine structurally imaginative sections, the first eight of which were sung by the choir.

In his programme note, the composer wrote of the selected verses as being "designed to mirror the lives of ordinary people and events". Through their hard work and the skill of the composer, the participants lifted the occasion to an extraordinary level.

Favourite Poets is also about cultural and collective memory and I hope the chorus will continue to perform it.