Christmas Concert 15 December 2012

Review: Richmondshire Choral Society St Mary'sChurch, Richmond

THIS was the first concert conducted by the choir's new musical director, the very experienced Peter Collis, and it augurs well for the future.

Jubilee year provided a good opportunity to perform Handel's three Coronation Anthems, originally written for George II in 1727.

Though, I think, slightly depleted, the choir was in good voice with the familiar and always thrilling Zadok the Priest positioned at the end for maximum impact.

In between these choral show pieces, guest soloist Rowan Pierce gave two short recitals with organist Matt Dowdy switching to piano.

In the first she sang Rejoice Greatly from Handel's Messiah and the Alleluia from Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate.

It was fascinating in this first half to hear the different ways in which Handel (and Mozart) could set Hallelujah.

In the soprano's second slot, she demonstrated her versatility with Widmung, by Schumann, whose deeper emotion contrasted with the show piece La Pastorella delle Alpi by Rossini, and concluded with Michael Head's The Little Road to Bethlehem

The second set consisted of John Rutter's Magnificat which, sensitively written for choir and soloist, brought out the best in both. The choir, for example, was beautifully delicate and light on Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae and Rowan Pierce's contributions from Sanctus through to Santa Maria were faultless, showing a beautiful voice and perfect control.

Peter Bevan

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