Review - 06 May 2017

Bridgwater Choral Society are to be congratulated on a super evening of relatively modern music. They coped very well with the venue change and the acoustics in the Baptist Church really worked for them. We were in the safe hands of Iain Cooper conducting and his programme notes were invaluable, especially for the less familiar works. He was most welcoming and enabling when we were rehearsing our audience input and he was so calm over the missing mezzo soprano – Alison Bell was well worth finding!

The programme was well and carefully thought out with just enough familiarity to keep us connected but also plenty of variety and freshness. It was interesting and effective to receive Dominick Felix’s first solo as a “voice in the wilderness” from the main body of the choir. John Bodiley’s organ playing was so sensitive and supporting.

I found the Bliss Pastoral quite other worldly. I was transported by this most convincing performance with success at many levels. The sensitive moving together as one in this complex and sustained piece was a huge achievement. Congratulations to Sally Hedges for her wonderful Flute and Piccolo performances – they had great clarity and seemed effortless despite the immense difficulty.

After a short break the choir assembled again for the nine part epic St Nicolas. This was a huge feat of endurance – being on your feet for that length of time, let alone singing the complex rhythms and harmonies. The choir successfully created many moods and textures in this piece – playful and light, psalm singing, rousing and patriotic and the almost party atmosphere of the Alleluia. Kate Blackmore-Greasley from the Taunton Preparatory School Choir deserves a special mention here as it is far from easy to maintain and sustain your line while all around you moves. I would have loved to see the school choir better but obviously the building had it’s challenges. At times it was a little difficult for them to keep together being in such a long flat line. The balance between choirs, orchestra and soloists was very good in this work and special mention should go to the piano duet, percussionists and to Dominick again. We were indeed privileged to experience the richness of this young man’s voice with such depth and control.

Thank you very much for inviting me to do this review and making me so welcome. It is just a shame more people didn’t come to hear your hard work and experience such a wonderful evening.

Rowena Steady BA(Hons)