Review - 09 May 2009
Source: Bridgwater Mercury May 19, 2009
St Mary’s Church hosted a fine choral concert, given by the combined forces of Bridgwater Choral Society, and conductor Iain Cooper’s other choir, Cleeve Chorale, from Cheltenham.
The concert consisted of two mature works by Mozart: The Solemn Vespers K339 and the C Minor Mass K427.
In both works, there is a quartet of soloists, but predominance is given to the soprano. Local singer Mary Morgan gave a radiant performance, transcending the technical difficulties to sing supremely musically, communicating persuasively with her audience.
The Laudate Dominum of the Vespers, and the Et Incarnatus of the Mass were outstanding. Mary joined with fellow soprano Jean McElroy in the Dominus Deus, where their voices blended exquisitely, and they were joined by tenor James Atherton in a florid trio for the Jesu Christe.
David Mills, from Bridgwater Choral, and Karen Longmate, from Cleeve Chorale, provided solid support. It was good to see Carole Bennett, another local musician, leading the orchestra so professionally.
The combined choirs sang really well, and should be proud of their work. Among the highlights were the contrasting dynamics in Psalm 111 of the Vespers: the dramatic chromaticism of the Qui Tollis in the Mass; and the great exuberance, both orchestrally and vocally of the big moments.
Iain Cooper controlled his large forces with great professionalism – hearing 100 amateur singers sing really softly is a rare and pleasant experience! And if the diction was not always as clear as it might have been, the blend of the sound more than made up for it.
A most rewarding evening which extended to the excellent refreshment and socialising afterwards. But what lingers most in the memory is the magic of Mary singing Mozart.