Spring 2010

Saturday  March 20th 2010 at The University Great Hall

Performances combine to provide joyous evening

If you read the South Chiltern Choral Society website you will see that the spring concert is reserved for the major choral works and performed at Reading University’s Great Hall.  All the major composers have appeared over time and it was a pleasant surprise to see that Mozart, Vivaldi and Kodaly were all represented this year. The choir looked resplendent in black, white and red with a suitably sombre dress code.

But the music was nothing like that, particularly the two pieces by Vivaldi. It was a very joyful evening. The choir was joined by four soloists, a small orchestra and two excellent trumpet players. But more about that later.

Kodaly’s Missa Brevis was an opportunity to hear the wonderful organ with Simon Dinsdale at the keys. The piece started well with a good attack by the choir and was sustained throughout assisted by the splendid soloists, especially Kate Warshaw (mezzo) and Ashley Riches (bass).

The major piece was Mozart’s Solemn Vespers which used the orchestra. However, I found the orchestra rather overbearing at first but such is the fine acoustic of this hall, that I was able to tune into the different elements of the orchestra, soloists and choir. Gwyn Arch, musical director, was able to keep the piece alive by energising all the participants so that the music was constantly flowing. The soloists performed as a team with a perfect balance between them. The soprano (Lisa Anne Robinson) was superb in the Laudate Dominum, her voice perfect for this piece. If anyone wanted an introduction to Mozart choral singing, this was the performance to hear.

After the interval we were treated to a performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Trumpets. The brass section of orchestras is often overlooked as if it is thought incapable of providing solo performances. Although this is a short piece it showed the excellent skills of Maddie Cottam and Ruth Strikland and gave the singers a well earned breather.

Finally, Vivaldi’s Gloria in all its magnificence was a step above the other pieces and the choir was able to deliver attack, pace and also clear words; something that is not always delivered by large ensembles. Lisa Anne Robinson and Kate Warshaw were involved as well and provided some fine performances to make this a truly glorious performance.

John Evans

Back to past concerts.

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