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Press & Publicity 2012

Concerts are regularly reviewed in the Bournemouth Echo, New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times

Reviews from the Bournemouth Echo, The Lymington Times & New Milton Advertiser.

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July 2012 Concert - Music for Royal Occasions by Parry, Stanford, Howells, Elgar and Handel

To celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this concert proved a stirring display of British choral works under the choir's Musical Director Marcio da Silva.

In Stanford's Te Deum . . . the choir made a fairly impressive opening accompanied on the Priory's organ by Hugh Morris, as they were for most of this concert.

. . . Herbert Howells' used the same text in his Te Deum . . . it is in another league . . . most imposing and sung, brilliantly, at the brighter tempo.

Elgar's psalm setting Great is the Lord is absolutely magnificent and sung here with heaven-storming power and a good bass solo from Jerry Laker.

. . . Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No 2 - a beautiful piece . . . a deserved reward for Jo Corbin's highly regarded work as rehearsal pianist . . .

Parry's treasure-chest of choral music includes Songs of Farewell; three pieces highlighting the Grange Choir's superb abilities for a cappella singing, especially those antiphonal effects in their divided layout.

Three Motets, op.38 by Stanford, Handel's Zadok the Priest plus our own contributions - Jerusalem and The National Anthem - were the icing on this Diamond Jubilee cake. Mike Marsh (edited) 

 

April 2012 Concert - Mozart's Mass in C minor and Bruckner's Te Deum

Not so much a Review but more a Preview of the Society's future under the direction of Marcio da Silva.

. . . the first under their new Musical Director Marcio da Silva. . . . although still under 30 (he) has already distinguished himself as an orchestral and operatic conductor in various European countries. This background clearly shaped his approach to the two works in Saturday's concert.

. . . His stated intention is to "improve the voice production of the choir" - the fulfilment of this was clearly audible in all the parts. This is to be warmly welcomed. The full benefits were most dramatically noticeable in Bruckner's Te Deum. . . . With large stretches marked fortissimo (or more!) this is an extraordinarily powerful piece, with colourful orchestration and a substantial organ part. The final pages were overwhelming in their intensity.

There is every reason to be optimistic about the choir's future under their new Musical Director. His experience, enthusiasm and declared emphasis on better vocal projection can only be beneficial. We can look forward to experiencing more of this at the next concert on 14th July when substantial pieces by Parry will be supplemented by some of the best loved items from cathedral service repertoire. Derek Baldwin (edited)

 

. . . wonderful job at Mendelssohn marathon

. . . after the Grange Choral Society's sell-out Mendelssohn mini-marathon, my own appreciation of his choral writing was satisfyingly re-enforced.

The major portion of this concert was devoted to the seventy-minute Symphony No2, 'Hymn of Praise', under the interim direction of Hugh Morris . . . highly regarded conductor . . .

From the powerful opening of this movement the unhurried pace wound through the following Andante and Minuet to create a soft-toned contrast to the mighty opening chorus, entering with impressive choral weight and underpinned from the Priory's organ (Chris Dowie).

All the succeeding episodes fully conveyed Mendelssohn's vocal splendour.

Soloists in the symphony included the superb, soaring clarity of soprano Abigail Hooper (shining also in Lauda Sion), the fine soprano Madeleine Holmes and the smoothly controlled voice of tenor Christopher Bowen.

They were joined by Richard Hooper, bass, in a glowing account of Lauda Sion where all forces engaged Mendelssohn's marvellous scoring.

. . .  Priory treble chorister Christopher Betts gave a highly accomplished account of Hear My Prayer from which the euphonious Oh for the Wings of a Dove soared in glorious harmony with the Grange singers.  Mike Marsh (edited)

 

Superb Society's ambitious work

There is a venturesome spirit within the Grange Choral Society; one that is prepared to try something different, and in Saturday's inspired concert they conveyed to stunning effect the glories of voice, brass percussion and organ under Daniel Cook's baton.

Concluding with John Rutter's Gloria the entire ensemble plus the soaring soprano soloist Katharine Hawnt ensured this powerful paean drew a performance to match the ambitious scoring.

Parry's anthem I Was Glad, accompanied by organ, had that extra edge with supporting brass ensemble, the Grange singers revelling in the challenge.

Bruckner's motets are gems of choral excellence and here the Grange performed six . . . some a cappella and others with brass. If the highest degree of polish was occasionally missing these were still distinguished accounts.

Organist Ian Wicks joined forces with the brass ensemble in an arrangement of Gigout's only well known work; the Grand Choeur Dialogue and quiet a spectacle it was, also in solo he shook the Priory's foundations with Walton's magnificent Crown Imperial

Elgar's Great is the Lord with bass soloist Richard Hooper and organ accompaniment was impressive but surpassed by Parry's Hear My Words, Ye People with the panoply of brass, chorus and both soloists in stirring form. A superb concert and hopefully something similar may follow. Mike Marsh (edited)

Elgar's Dream of Gerontius - Grange Choral Society celebrates 50th anniversary  

What better time than the 50th anniversary to pause and appreciate the significant contribution it has made, and continues to make, to the cultural life of the area.

In an age when British choral heritage - particularly in the Christian context - is less-widely valued or supported than it once was, the choir's broad repertoire and continuing membership of around 150 voices, along with the high musical standards it maintains together represent a major achievement. That should be recognised, valued and celebrated.

(of the soloists) it was a significant fact that all three had sung in the Grange's last performance of the work in 2006. They are all performers of great presence and distinction.

Under the baton of Daniel Cook the choir responded well to the wide variety of timbre and mood demanded by Elgar's music. In addition to the full choir parts his score also often makes use of a semi-chorus . . . That role was filled by the Salisbury-based Farrant Singers, another of Daniel's choirs . . . Mention must also be made of the Grange Orchestra augmented to almost 50 players . . . they stamped their mark on the performance right from the start of the sombre prelude.

This concert was a memorable occasion for the society to look back and mark the achievements of the last 50 years. But, with the magnificent venue of Christchurch Priory, and interesting programmes already planned for the next two years . . . it also has every reason to look forward confidently to the future. D.B. (edited quote published in The New Milton Advertiser)

© Grange Choral Society 2013
 Registered Charity: 104590 President: Neil Jenkins MA CANTAB   
Vice Presidents: David Ferns, Anita Hansen