21st November 2015

CIRENCESTER CHORAL SOCIETY - PURCELL HAIL! BRIGHT CECILIA, HANDEL O PRAISE THE LORD

CIRENCESTER PARISH CHURCH 21st November 2015

 

Last Saturday, on the eve of St Cecilia’s day, a packed audience in Cirencester Parish Church was treated to a concert worthy of the patron saint. Cirencester Choral Society presented music by Purcell and Handel, maintaining their well-deserved reputation for stylish performances of exciting, but less well-known, music. Hail! Bright Cecilia is the best known of Purcell’s Cecilian odes. The theme is music, and provided opportunity aplenty for a talented and versatile composer. The young and exciting soloists performed solos, duets and trios, extolling the merits of music and instruments, and were tested through their full range. Particularly delightful were the performances of Hannah Davey (soprano) and David Le Prevost (bass), and the magical duet ‘Hark Each Tree’ between bass and counter-tenor (Ben Sawyer). The work showcased the orchestra, highlighting the quality of the musicians. At the heart of the performance, the choir was well schooled and enthusiastic in praise of their “great Patroness of us and Harmony”.

For the second half, Handel’s Chandos Anthem “O Praise the Lord” required a different style. Clearly the mulled apple juice, provided as interval drinks in aid of The Churn Project, had the desired effect, as the choir re-emerged with new energy and dexterity to sally their way through dazzling quaver and semi-quaver runs. This choir is at its best when concentrating, which is usually when challenged. Despite the distance between conductor and the back row of the basses, the interplay of parts was accurate and delivered “with one consent”. The result was full of “cheerful notes”.

There is a Christmas concert in support of CHYP on 22nd December, and music by Chilcott and Elgar in the May concert. Book now.

 

Charles Woodd
22nd November 2015