Kington Choral Society

Reviews

Bach, Christmas Oratorio
26 November 2016

Were you watching Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday evening? If so you will have missed a fabulous treat! It was full house at St. Mary’s church for Kington Choral Society’s performance of Bach’s wonderful Christmas Oratorio. Fifty choir members sang their hearts out under the enthusiastic baton of their new MD, Robert Evans, instilling ¬†warmth into the chilly November night. Robert began his musical career as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral and after twists and turns in various careers went on to earn his living from singing. His musical interests are broad, and when not singing with internationally acclaimed ‘The Sixteen’ he finds time to lead Kington Choral. His comments after directing the choir’s first performance since he joined in September are encouraging, not only for the choir but also may well tempt potential singers to consider joining. He comments:

[The evening was], “A great success, in terms of performance, engagement, execution and goodwill… I particularly appreciated the warmth and praise for you from the soloists as they are singers whose opinion I respect”

Bach, Christmas Oratorio

It was indeed a privilege for Kington to host soloists of such calibre who all now go on to sing in a host of places in the run up to Christmas. Felicity Turner for example, mezzo soprano and described by Gramophone Magazine as ‘beguiling’, will be soloing in Oratorio again on 18th December, this time in Kristiansand Cathedral, Norway. Jessica Cale, soprano, with a successful career as a soloist and consort singer, gave an uplifting performance. Tenor, Jeremy Budd, who works with many well known conductors and ensembles had the audience in the palm of his hand with his rich deliverance while Samuel Oram, baritone, returned to enrich the Kington Choral singers after his performance here two years ago, with yet more accolades and experience under his belt.

This concert was professionally supported by the expertise of the renowned Marches Baroque Orchestra whose early instruments added a wonderful vitality and authenticity to the deliverance.

It is a proven fact that music reaches parts that other disciplines cannot, bringing healing and purpose in this troubled world and so it was fitting that the retiring collection, for the charity ‘Singing For The Brain’ will benefit the work to fight the ever growing problems of dementia.


Jenkins, The Armed Man / Rutter, Requiem
14 May 2016

This was a really special evening, simply one of the best concerts that I have attended anywhere in the world, proving that ‘one night only’ performances can sometimes conjure up extra inspiration from the muse. John Rutter’s Requiem and Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man exceeded my expectations so much in performance by KCS that either one of them would have made my trip worthwhile, so to hear both was a real treat! Psalm 23 was a highlight of the former, raising the level of emotional engagement to a zenith that continued right through to the final, perfect note of the piece. But The Armed Man impressed me most, through its highly effective staging as much as through technical excellence in delivery, with an optimal soundscape at my seat in the centre of the Nave. The work, which I regard as Jenkins’s finest, was performed with just the right balance between sublime celestial harmonies and the noises of war. All members of the choir sang out of their skins, while the soloists (including the muezzin) were particularly fine. Stand-out instrumental moments for me were the cello at the beginning of the Benedictus and the contribution of the organ, particularly in its lower register. Also worthy of note was the conducting, which very evidently engaged the performers’ attention and enthusiasm at all times to lift the whole concert, yet without resort to unnecessary flourishes or a temptation to hurry things along. The whole experience will be a very hard act to follow, but the prospect of KCS and its guests maintaining such a high standard will be sufficient for me to look forward eagerly to hearing Bach at Christmas.

Mike Lewis