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Press and Publicity 2018

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The concert on Saturday 20th January given by the Grange Choral Society was the first concert of the new year at Christchurch Priory, and the first of the season for the choral society, who were conducted by their musical director Marcio da Silva, and what a delightful evening it proved to be. The well chosen programme gave us, chorally, " Lux Aeterna" by the American composer Morten Lauridsen and Haydn's " Nelson Mass", with a short orchestral interlude in between - Mozart's " Serenata Notturna" for strings, unconducted. Here Mozart contrasts a string quartet with a larger string section, including timpani. All three movements were played with flowing phrases and rhythmic intensity.

The Lauridsen had an atmospheric choral opening, and the chordal writing suited the voices and the acoustic of the Priory. It was all sung with good choral balance and warm tone, with clarity in the part writing and diction, and with effective colouring of the words in the movements. Good intonation was maintained in the unaccompanied sections, though there was room, perhaps, for an even wider range of dynamics.

The "Nelson Mass", surely one of Haydn's best choral compositions, was an excellent contrast, with it's fast moving music, keeping the chorus on their toes. With so many of the movements shared with the soloists, prompt and accurate entries are essential, and almost all were, with lots of vitality, particularly from the sopranos. The orchestral arrangement used was not Haydn's original - 3 trumpets, organ and srings - and the thicker texture did at times obscure, in particular, the tenor line, but overall this was a spirited performance.

There were four young soloists, the soprano Sarah Gilford sang with clear, bright tone and clarity in the rapid passages and she was supported by the mezzo Rachel Falaise, who produced some real contralto tone in the Agnus Dei. The voice of the bass John Holland - Avery, as yet, is light in tone and lower notes lacked definition, but as a quartet with the tenor Kieran White, the voices blended well together.

This was a very enjoyable evening - an excellent beginning to 2018

Christina Thomas

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