Posts Tagged ‘music’

Review of KD Theatre’s production of ‘Sister Act’ in the Maltings, Ely on Saturday 6th July 2019

July 7, 2019

photo Sister Act KD 06-07-19Many of us have seen the film, and we have seen it many times on TV, so why would we want to see it again? It was clear from the start that nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a live show. KD Theatre demonstrated this perfectly.

We were constantly enthralled by the vivacious, gyrating dancers on and off stage with the audience adding just one dimension to a multi-faceted, vibrant production. The original theme of bad girl comes good was still definitely there, but there was much more besides. There was love, hate, fear, courage and narrow-mindedness turning into broadmindedness that the little religious community had never known.

The main characters in the second cast list made their parts their own. Their singing, acting and dancing and that of the groups was right up to the mark. Especially impressive were Doloris (played by Abigail Day), Mother Superior (Lotties White) and her amazing nuns (especially Sister Mary Robert: Emily Wright, Sister Mary Patrick: Kay Pegado, and Sister Mary Lazarus: Emily Rutherford). Also remarkable were the young policeman in love with Doloris: ‘Sweaty’ Eddie (Zak Potis), the bad guy, boyfriend of Doloris: Curtis (Jake Stearne) and his goons  (TJ: Samuel McGuinness Joey: Jacob Stoodly and Pablo: Max Wilson ), the Monsignor O’Hara (Dean Bruce)… In fact, they were all wonderful!

Congratulations must go to the director, Jessica Theobald and choreographers Chloe Jones and Bethany and Issy Pearson and the whole team, for the phenomenal pace, the dazzling drive and the impact of the performers. Producers for KD Theatre Productions ltd, Daniel Bell and Katherine Hickmott were also invaluable elements to this fantastic production.

One of the next events to look forward to is the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Maltings 13th December 2019 to 5th January 2020. For more information: contact http://www.kdtheatre.co.uk tel: 01353 725026.

 

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Review of Ely Consort’s concert: ‘Feel the Spirit’ in St Mary’s Church Burwell on Saturday 29th June 2019

June 30, 2019

There is no doubt about it. Ely Consort is an amazing choir. Under the skilled director, Matthew Rudd, this choir demonstrated that it could maintain and develop beautiful, well-managed sounds. We were told that one piece actually had up to 14 parts, but even then, a real sense of control infused the massive sound. This control came from the inherent musicality of the conductor and the choir members.

The programme was varied and impressive. The first half of the programme demonstrated the genuine skill of this phenomenal choir. Some of the works were particularly demanding but the expertise of these singers made light of every challenge. Highlights for me were ‘Live with me and be my love’ and ‘It was a lover and his lass’ from ‘Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare’ by George Shearing. This music came from modern times and the accompaniment of piano (played by Charlie Penn) and bass (Joel Humann) brought the music alive. The fluidity and charm of ‘Live with me …’ and the light frivolity of ‘It was a lover …’ contrasted splendidly with the gorgeous harmonies of ‘Who is Sylvia?’ and the jagged impact of ‘Fie on Sinful Fantasy’.

Two madrigals from the ‘Triumphs of Oriana’ (Elizabeth 1) were unaccompanied delights from Elizabeth 1’s time and we particularly enjoyed ‘A vesta was from Latmos Hill descending’ after Matthew explained how the composer Thomas Weelkes used word painting within this composition giving it an intriguing mischievous touch.

The climax of the evening came after the interval with John Rutter’s ‘Feel the Spirit’. We certainly felt the spirit with this marvellous performance which included students from Soham Village College. The highlights in this composition for me were: ‘Joshua fit the battle of Jericho’, ‘Steal away’ and the  final spiritual ‘When the saints go marching in’. We were soon in toe-tapping mood with the rousing opening bars of Joshua fit … . I am not ashamed to say the having suffered a recent bereavement, ‘Steal away’ was so beautifully arranged and sung that tears soon came to my eyes. Claire Stevenson  played her clarinet or saxophones magnificently and the joyous improvisatory nature of her contributions to ‘Deep river’ added a ‘wow’ factor. Derek Scurll enhanced the highly attractive rhythms with his drum playing.

This was an excellent concert and we look forward to their next venture in Ely: ‘Cherubini Requiem’ on Saturday 21st March 2020 in Ely Cathedral. Contact info@elyconsort.org.uk  for more information.Matthew Rudd

Comment: The value of music should never be underestimated.

April 2, 2019

Throughout the centuries, music has been an important part of people’s lives. There are few of us who would declare that it is completely unimportant and unnecessary.  Scores of research cases have indicated that music has an important influence on the way we think and feel, yet it is usually at the bottom of our list of priorities, be it a school curriculum or our own everyday lives.

An incident recently brought it home to me how effective music can be when all other means of communication fail. I run a weekly ‘choir practice’ for the residents in my husband’s care home. I ask that he attends even though he has long lost the power of speech. I knew, and know, that he has always liked music. As the weeks passed, I introduced new songs for us all to sing. I often try to communicate with my husband but it is usually not successful. I am not even sure he knows who I am anymore for he has suffered from dementia for over 20 years.

Then one week I decided to assume that I would get through to him. I went up close to him and stood so that he could see and hear me clearly and I sang with the residents, song after song. It was not long before his eyes met mine and they focused so that I knew he knew who I was. He grinned to show that he was really enjoying the music. Not only that, his facial expression changed to show that he was reacting emotionally to the event and to the music in a positive way. To me, this is proof indeed that music is one of the most powerful communicators.

Music has always been important in my life. As a child of non-musical parents it seemed a fluke that I was even interested. Fortunately I was allowed to follow my interest and even make it a career, even though many people thought that there is no future in it. In my case, I turned to teaching and although it had its moments, it certainly gave me a career, and helped to pay a mortgage and bring up a young family.

From personal experience I can testify that as a child learning the piano it not only gave me an outlet for my music, it taught me discipline (when I had to get up at 630 every morning to get my practice in before school), it gave me focus when I had to remember the notes, the fingering and the musical form of the pieces I played while it also gave me a very powerful means of expression to alleviate the teenage angst that I suffered as most people do. It taught me develop stamina and to relax for these are important parts of the technique. Finally, the concerts, performances and choirs I have been involved with provided a social life I would otherwise never have experienced.

So the next time you think music may be a waste of time, I urge you to think again.

 

Ely Consort’s concert in Ely Methodist Chapel on Saturday 16th March 2019

March 17, 2019

 

Ely Consort, directed by Matthew Rudd, is an excellent choir and obviously delighted the packed audience in Ely Methodist Chapel on Saturday. Their singing was a very high standard and as a choir it proved particularly competent at fusing complex chords into emotive, cohesive harmony.

Many of the pieces in the programme were new and those of us who are wary of contemporary composers were given a very pleasant surprise. Matthew obviously knows his music and the selection chosen for this programme, which included many modern-day composers, was particularly musical and delightful.

Pianist, Charlie Penn, and cellist Anna Jones also made and excellent contribution to this lovely programme. Charlie had some highly challenging material to play, and he managed it all with real panache. It was very pleasing to hear the rich tones of the cello. In ‘Serenity’ (‘O Magnum Mysterium’) by Ola Gjeilo, the cello was especially well integrated, making the piece meaningful, heartfelt and expressive.

Other highlights for me were ‘Time is Endless’ by Vytautas Miškinis, ‘Cantata Domino’ by Ko Matsushita, ‘The music of stillness’ by Elaine Hagenberg and the final ‘Polovtsian Dances’ by Alexander Borodin. ‘Time is Endless’ contained gorgeous, ethereal harmonies, ‘Cantata Domino’ was tuneful with a tinge of attractive melancholy, ‘The music of stillness’ had a beautiful, sustained texture with exquisite harmonic changes that were clearly expressed, and the excitement and exotic exuberance of the Polovtsian Dances ended the evening perfectly. None of this detail would have been possible to enjoy without the skill and sensitivity of this wonderful choir and its director.

Their next event will be John Rutter’s ‘Feel the Spirit’ in St. Mary’s Church, Burwell on the 29th June 2019 http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/elyconsort

Review of Cambridge Chorale’s concert ‘A Sense of the Divine’ in the Lady Chapel Ely Cathedral on Saturday 2nd March 2019

March 3, 2019

The title of this concert was most fitting and the Lady Chapel was the perfect place for this marvellous choir to perform. Under the expert baton of Owain Park, the choir’s meticulous concern for clear, precise focus on the sheer beauty of sound created a concert of the purest quality. There are very few choral groups that can reach such perfection.

The varied programme included works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, William Henry Harris, Charles Villiers Stanford, Judith Weir, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Thomas Tallis, G.P. da Palestrina, John Tavener, Hildegard von Bingen, Gerda Blok-Wilson, C.H.H. Parry, Eric Whitacre and the conductor, Owain Park. These pieces ranged from the 11th to the 21st century and the variety of styles and voice ranges required created a huge challenge that this amazing choir met with sophisticated ease.

Highlights for me were ‘Silence and Music’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams, ‘Faire is the Heaven’ by William Henry Harris, ‘Evening Hymn’ by Einojuhani Rautavaara, ‘Sicut Cervus’ by Palestrina, ‘O Little Rose’ by Gerda Blok-Wilson and ‘Beati quorum via’ by Owain Park.

Serenity, cohesion and harmonic balance were immediately evident in the opening ‘Silence and Music’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams, whereas in the following piece,  ‘Faire is the Heaven’ by William Henry Harris, we were entranced by the music’s attractive cheerfulness and contrasting moments of excitement. A sense of character and courageous melodic expansion using an amazing range in the voices pervaded ‘Evening Hymn’ by Einojuhani Rautavaara. Singing  ‘Sicut Cervus’ by Palestrina in the Lady Chapel and its renowned lengthy echoes made it easy for us to be transported in time back to the 16th century when this music was first performed in the ornate cathedrals of Italy. Works for male voices only are usually on the macho -bombastic style, but in ‘O Little Rose’ by Gerda Blok-Wilson, the male voices of Cambridge Chorale sang with tenderness and beauty – a most enjoyable and rare treat. ‘Beati quorum via’ by Owain Park was a sophisticated reference to Stanford’s earlier version and Owen’s piece and was a very impressive modern, full-blooded and expressive work of variety and interest.

The final ‘Her Sacred spirit soars’ by Eric Whitacre with its amazingly powerful climaxes was a fitting ending to this superb concert and the encore by ‘Heavens Flock’ by Ērics Ešenvalds was certainly well deserved.

Cambridge Chorale next perform at Trinity College Chapel on the 18th May 2019. For more information contact http://www.cambridgechorale.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Review of ADeC’s concert in Ely Cathedral Lady Chapel: Handel’s Messiah by Cambridge Voices and the Orchestra of the Age of Reason under the direction of Ian de Massini

September 7, 2011

Whenever Ian de Massini is at the helm, we know we are going to experience something wonderful and the performance of Handel’s Messiah in Ely Cathedral Lady Chapel was no exception. The Chapel was packed with devotees waiting with bated breath for yet another spectacular event.

So much of Handel’s Messiah is familiar and so much has been done to popularise performances.  Yet under the directorship of Ian, technical know-how and an intimate, profound understanding of the composer’s thoughts brought the work into shape, revealing dramatic qualities that have often been subdued and demonstrating the true worth of Handel as a composer.

The choir and orchestra, as always, excelled. Precise entries and dramatic contrasts in volume, pace and texture were explored to the full. Ian’s contribution as conductor and accompanist on the organ and harpsichord was undoubtedly inspirational.

The constant sense of excitement and awe was enhanced by the variety of soloists within the performance. The opening recitative Comfort ye sung by the tenor from the back of the chapel signalled a performance that was going to be exhilarating and unforgettable.

The Orchestra of the Age of Reason was an integral part of the wonderful effects, performing ‘as one’ while providing noticeable clarity in the texture which remained strong, warm and supportive. The inordinate skill of the instrumentalists was a constant feature.

New life was breathed into familiar choruses. The vibrant impact of And the glory of the Lord, the lightness and clarity of the choir’s embellishments in And he shall purify the sons of Levi and the refreshing liveliness and warmth of For unto us a child is born were matched by the striking power of Glory to God, the deep contrasts in Surely, And with his stripes and All we like sheep, the masterful men’s voices in He trusted in God. The culmination of the first half was the rousing Hallelujah chorus with choir, orchestra and audience combining to fill the Lady Chapel with spine-chilling sounds. Participating in this concert was far greater an experience than any other I have known. This is largely due to Ian’s perceptive attention to every detail that makes up his performances. His carefully selected choir members not only sang beautifully and combined cohesively but managed to do this while often placed at different positions within the Lady Chapel and often separated from the other singers of their part. I was able to choose between soprano and alto with strong representation from both parts in close proximity —a testament to Ian’s ingenious choreography.

In addition, Ian’s understanding of the special acoustics of the Lady Chapel brought amazing clarity to the performance and his joyous celebration of Handel’s ideas led to many exquisite moments when he held  back the final phrase for almost too long so that we could all could savour the beauty and expression.

Delights after interval included the opening unaccompanied choir’s Lift up your heads, O ye gates, the rapid declarative counterpoint in Let us break their bonds asunder ,the positive momentum of But thanks be to God and the triumphant , robust and rousing elements of the final Choruses: Worthy is the Lamb, Blessing and honour and Amen.

As expected, this was a unique, exciting and unforgettable performance – one of ADeC’s best.

Future Concerts by Cambridge Voices include:

Saturday 22nd October 2011 7.30 pm Music and the King James Bible of 1611 in St Columba’s Church, Downing St., Cambridge

Sunday 27th November 2011 4.00 pm Britten’s A Boy was Born in the two churches of Swaffham Prior

Good Friday 2012 Bach’s t. John Passion (with The Orchestra of the Age of Reason) St Columba’s Church, Downing St., Cambridge and in the two churches of Swaffham Prior the next day

Monday 27th August 2012 Bach’s Mass in B minor (with The Orchestra of the Age of Reason and the   augmented choir of Cambridge 40 Voices)

RJWestwell

Review: Ely Choral Society’s Let the Peoples Sing at Witchford Village College on Saturdaty 2nd July 2011

July 3, 2011

What a charming programme Andrew Parnell devised for Ely Choral Society’s performance on Saturday night! Nothing appeals more than tunes that have been passed from person to person and Ely Choral Society members, under the directorship of Andrew, obviously enjoyed the rich, robust sounds the folk-song enriched works required. The joy of the singers was shared by the enthusiastic audience as the wonderful summer concert progressed. The songs particularly suited this large choir and strong balanced harmonies filled the hall at Witchford Village College with ease.

The concert began with three songs from Five English Folk Songs by Vaughan Williams: The Dark Eyed Sailor, The Spring Time of the Year and Just as the Tide was Flowing. The balance, tone and sustained lines of the choir were delightful.

Jonathan Lilley, Assistant Organist at Ely Cathedral, emerged from the basses to take his seat at the piano to accompany the Youth Choir for the next items: Britten’s O Waly Waly and Oliver Cromwell. These select young singers sang beautifully and were a credit to their age group. They were particularly responsive to the humour of the final line of Oliver Cromwell: ‘If you want any more you can sing it yourself!’

Jonathan’s piano solos followed. He played Percy Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry and Shepherd’s Hey and this Australian-born composer expected nothing more than a dazzling virtuosic performance which Jonathan managed to perfection.  Jonathan’s technical prowess brought out the cleverly interwoven strands in a clear and impressive 3-dimensional texture in Irish Tune while the audience sat mesmerized at the fantastic display in the more lively arrangement of Shepherd’s Hey.

Tenor Charles Schneider stepped from the choir’s ranks to give a splendid solo: Brigg Fair (Lincolnshire) also by Percy Grainger, ably accompanied by Jonathan.

Three contrasting spirituals brought out the best in the choir next: Little David, Play on yo’ Harp by Malcolm Sargent displayed some nifty rhythms and effective changes in dynamics, Deep River by Paul Hart wowed the listeners with gorgeous emotional surges and Ain’a That Good News by W.L.Dawson lifted the spirits with its sheer joy and vitality.

Vem Kan Segla Förutan Vind? (Sweden), Juanita (Spain) and Lorelei (Germany) branched out into wider European realms with the first and last songs sung in the original languages. The clearly aligned and richly balanced harmony of Lorelei was particularly impressive.

Then it was the Youth Choir’s turn to let rip and it gave us a thrilling Medley from Grease: Grease, Summer Nights and You’re the One that I Want. The Choral Society provided more variety and spice with Shenandoah (America) by James Erb, Thula S’Thandwa Sam’ (Zulu lullaby) by Horst Hinze and La Cabaña (Colombia) by Emilio Murillo. The richly interwoven echoes of the tune in Shenandoah, the exquisitely soft final verse of Thula S’Thandwa Sam’ and colour and rhythms of La Cabaña were particularly effective.

One of the highlights of the evening was undoubtedly the piano duet of Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams played by Andrew, and Jonathan. With sensitive awareness, and cohesive dexterity the expertise of these pianists managed to bring out every subtle nuance of this usually orchestral composition.

The final selection sung by both choirs is always a winner and they gave Three Hungarian Folk Songs by Matyas Seiber good measure. The Handsome Butcher was lively and charismatic, Apple Apple had particularly well-shaped phrasing and no one could fail to enjoy the rapid The Old Woman with its outrageous words.

This was indeed a most successful and joyful evening.

Forthcoming events:

Saturday 22nd October, 730 p.m., Ely Cathedral Gloria Italia

Saturday 3rd December, 7 p.m., St Mary’s Church Christmas Concert

Saturday 31st March 2012, 7.30 p.m. Ely Cathedral Dream of Gerontius

Contact: http://www.elychoralsociety.org

Review: Music and Memories featuring James Bowman Saturday 25th June in Ely Cathedral

June 28, 2011

The packed south transept of Ely Cathedral waited expectantly. With the disguised effortlessness of a world-renowned performer James Bowman began the first song of his evening of Music and Memories. The audience was mesmerized. His warm and beautifully shaped counter tenor voice brought Farrant’s Hide not thou they face alive, aided by Andrew Plant accompanying on the piano with perfect synchronization and sensitively. The audience knew this was going to be a special evening.

James then began the first of his tales about his experiences in Ely Cathedral as a chorister in 1951. During the evening he told of the changes in the Cathedral since his time. He remembered when there were no chairs in the nave; the building was freezing cold because of its then inefficient heaters and the shop as we know it was where the coal was stored for the heaters.

One of the highlights of the evening was the first performance of a work he commissioned from Arthur Wills (OBE), Ely’s Organist Emeritus and world-famous composer. Arthur was Director of Music in Ely Cathedral while James was a chorister and Arthur featured very much in the stories that were told. The work James commissioned was a setting of words by John Donne of A Hymn to God the Father. There was no sycophantic flattery on James’s part. He admitted before he sang this work that it was difficult to learn and that he was right in saying that there was no music without pain as far as Arthur was concerned. Arthur, sitting next to his wife Mary in the audience, good-naturedly went along with such repartee. Then James, with hardly any outward changes, immediately focused on giving a clear, expressive and informed performance of the work. Every note was carefully interpreted and placed. Every phrase was thoughtfully shaped with its wide-ranging intervals and elongated endings; he often left the listeners spellbound as a final single pure note lay suspended in the hushed atmosphere. This was the kind of work that one needs to hear several times before its true qualities can all be digested but what was apparent in this first hearing was the integral piano accompaniment and how Arthur took pains to make the turns of phrase interesting and varied. As Arthur told me once, in his compositions the words dictate the music and this composition was no exception. When the work ended, there was a moment’s silence before the expected rapturous applause broke out.

The rest of the evening was packed with a variety of songs: O nata lux de lumione by Tallis, Drop, drop slow tears by Gibbons, Here the deities approve and Vouchsafe, O Lord by Purcell, Yet can I hear that dulcet lay and Ombra mai fu by Handel, The yonge child, items from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Corpus Christi Carol  by Britten, The Call and From far, from eve and morning and Fear no more the heat of the sun by Vaughan Williams, Is my team ploughing? by Butterworth and King David by Howells. No matter which style James was singing, he added vitality to every expression with phenomenal tone, breath control, diction and intuitive musical awareness.

Between items more fascinating stories evolved from his time as a chorister in Ely Cathedral ranging from the time he met Vaughan Williams (who apparently was fascinated by the angels in roof of the south transept) to the fine dust that settled below the Lantern – the first signs of deathwatch beetles’ damage to its floor (now fully remedied and safe).

James also commented on the awesome beauty of the Cathedral and as beams from the slowly fading sun unveiled the colours of the stain glass windows, I believe I was not alone in feeling that this evening had been one of the most moving and beautiful occasions in the Cathedral I had ever experienced.

Contact: http://www.elycathedral.org

Review of the Bridge String Quartet playing The Seven Last Words from the Cross in The Lady Chapel Ely Cathedral on Friday 22nd April 2011

April 23, 2011

 Good Friday (April 22nd) in the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral featured a most appropriate concert performed by a first-class string quartet: the Bridge String Quartet. Colin Twigg (violin), Catherine Schofield (violin), Michael Schofield (viola) and Lucy Wilding (‘cello) synchronized perfectly in their performance of The Seven Last Words from the Cross by Josef Haydn. This particular part of the Cathedral is renowned for its echoing acoustics yet these musicians created an awe-inspiring texture of clear, firm, warm harmonies and sequences that centred perfectly on the core of the notes.  These performers knew what they were doing and throughout the concert they balanced perfectly, their wonderful control allowing key melodic phrases to rise magnificently over a web of subtle differences and changes of expression.

This work was in seven movements. After an affirmative introduction, each movement was preceded by a reading of meditations by Canon David Pritchard and these texts formed the inspiration for the following movements.   Haydn himself had commented how difficult it was to compose so many consecutive slow movements without ‘fatiguing’ the audience but these instrumentalists managed to create enough variety to hold the interest with their phenomenal technique as they eased every nuance of expression from the score.

Even soft, repeated notes were given new life in Father, forgive them …     The next movement, Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise contained an uplifting pizzicato section in which plucked strings added lightness after the lyrical melancholic melodic material of the violin. Woman, behold they son …  featured an especially warm texture with full contributions from all members of the quartet. This was followed by the music of My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? which almost sang the words of the text especially in the opening poignant ‘cry’. Pizzicato again brought a change of colour in I thirst. The successive short notes pictured droplets of water which soon developed to reflect the feelings of anxiety the text inspired. Long sweeping unison notes embraced the finality of It is finished while in Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit the instruments almost breathed a sensation of resignation before breaking out into the shocking drama of The earthquake.

The concert was very well supported and was a most fitting introduction to Easter.

 Contacts: http://www.bridgequartet.com; info@bridgequartet.com; http://www.elycathedral.org

Review of Ely Consort’s performance of Brahm’s Requiem in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 26th March 2011

March 28, 2011

From the time Matthew Rudd took over the directorship of Ely Consort in 2002, it has grown in numbers and stature. Under his astute directorship, the tonal quality, clarity and polish this group of fine singers has developed has become more and more remarkable.

In their performance on Saturday these qualities were particularly evident in the motet Beati quorum via by Charles Villiers Stanford. The harmonies were beautifully balanced and entries and closures of effortlessly sustained lines were precise but not too precise to damage the wonderful resonance that filled the presbytery in Ely Cathedral where the concert took place. The ranges of expression, changes of mood and the gradual development of tension, dynamics and climaxes were wonderfully crafted by this excellent conductor and these marvellous singers.

These qualities were also especially apparent in Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s Blessed be the God and Father, Justorum animae by Stanford and the opening and closing Selig sind …, in Brahm’s Requiem. The words ‘But the word of the Lord endureth forever’ in Wesley’s piece built to a most effective climax.

Two impressive soloists performed with the choir. Francis Brett (baritone), who in the early days of his career won a choral scholarship to King’s College Cambridge, and our Ely-based diva Catriona Clark (soprano) enhanced the evening with first rate performances. Francis sang Herr, lehre doch mich, the third movement of Brahm’s Requiem, with mesmerizing warmth and potency. His superb technique engendered a sense of effortlessness as he captured the expressiveness of the text exactly. His contribution to the sixth movement of the Requiem, Denn wir habern hie keine bleibende Statt, brought out significant words with special clarity and colour.

Catriona Clark sparkled with her light, vibrant and well focused tones. She featured in Wesley’s Blessed be the God and Father and Ihr habt nun traurigkeit from the Requiem. Her solos by Brahms contrasted well. The first Wie Melodien was charming and gentle with key notes clothed with expressive warmth and the second song by Brahms, The Vain Suit was in English and a highly entertaining moment of humour not always apparent in Brahm’s usual profound style.

Jonathan Lilley, assistant organist to Ely Cathedral, accompanied with his usual expertise. The smooth fingerwork and empathy with the Cathedral’s organ were particularly apparent in his solo Postlude in D minor, Op 105. No 6 by Stanford. The declarative rousing melodies and the softer interwoven textures were putty in this highly accomplished performer’s hands.

The Consort is undoubtedly one of the finest choral groups in the area and among many of their spine-chilling moments was their performance of Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras (For all flesh is as grass), the second movement of the Requiem as Matthew drew out the most sinister of sounds to complement the funeral-march of the organ. Matthew’s skill in moving smoothly from one mood to another, changing pace and texture was particularly noticeable.

This was indeed a splendid concert.

The next event by Ely Consort includes a performance of Walton’s Coronation Te Deum in their concert on Saturday 25th June 2011 in St. Andrew’s Church Sutton.

You might also be interested in other events advertised in the programme:

Stretham Feast concert, St. Jame’s Church, featuring Alternative Medicine and Guests on Friday 14th May 2011 at 7.30 p.m.

East Anglia Chamber Orchestra (EACHO) featuring music by Bach, Copland, Albinoni and Dvorak in Ely Cathedral on Sunday 3rd April 2011 at 5.15 p.m.

Cantate Jubilate with works by Tallis, Purcell, Byrd and Stopford at St. Margarets’ Church Chippenham, Cambs. on Saturday 9th April at 7.30 p.m.

 

Contacts:

http://www.elyconsort.org.uk

Ely Cathedral Box Office, tel: 01353 660349 http://www.elycathedral.org

http://www.eacho.org

http://www.cantatejubilate.co.uk