Reviews - 12 May 2010

Source: Bridgwater Mercury May 18 2010
 
Choral Society performed with great panache
 
Bridgwater Choral Society’s spring concert in St Mary’s Church found the choir in excellent voice, performing music with which they appeared to have special empathy.

The programme of choral items by Haydn, Mzart and Schubert, with its strong melodic lines, interesting but never dissonant harmony, and dynamic contrast was performed with great panache. The music gave great opportunities to the four soloists Eleanor Briggs, Pamela Rudge, Richard Rowntree and Brian Pursey.Soprano Eleanor Briggs in particular was entrancing, with perfect intonation even in the highest register, and unforced clarity, whether against the other soloists or the full choir.


Three shorter pieces came first – Moazrt’s Regina Coeli and Schubert’s Intende Voci and Tantum Ergo.

Mozart’s Hymn to the Queen of Heaven is an energetic and bouncy piece, and the choir responded well to this challenge.

Intende Voci featured tenor Richard Rowntree, who duetted with a beautiful oboe obbligato from Helen Rawstron. The Tantum Ergo used the solo quartet antiphonally with the full chorus.

The main fare for the evening was Haydn’s Mass In The Time Of War. Despite the solemnity of the title, the opening Kyrie (Lord, have mercy) was non-penitential in tone, featuring a dazzling soprano solo and much rythmic drive from the choir.

The Gloria and The Credo contained much contrast, carefully crafted from the nature of the text by Haydn, and sensitively sung by choir and soloists.

The unusually restrained opening of The Sanctus gave a solo opportunity to alto Pamela Rudge, and the choir burst in with The Hosanna in startling contrast. The Benedictus was a quartet, full of harmonic interest. The Agnus Dei, in a departure from usual practice, featured trumpets, and drums, giving the piece a martial flavour.

The Orchestra, led by Brigid Kirkland-Wilson, upheld their tradition of sensitive and colourful playing, which added much to the concert. All performers are to be congratulated on a fine evening’s music.
 

JOHN BODILEY