Conductor’s Notes – Spring Concert

Wow! What a concert! I think we can all agree that that was something special. Well done to you all for your commitment and dedication to an incredible term of rehearsals and to such a high-level performance. I’m so grateful to you all for putting in those countless hours learning the music, marking up the scores, and practicing your parts; it paid off with a concert you should all be so proud of!

The Verdi was such a great opening to the concert – I could feel the audience pinned back in their seats (that feeling of when you hurtle down the runway in a plane) when the choir came in at the beginning. It was an arresting start, and you only gained momentum as we went on. The soli entries, such as the altos’ luxurious passage in the middle, were a pleasure to listen to, and the tutti sections were so full-bodied and committed. Safe to say I’ve revised my orchestration to take out the text “play if choir need” in the score – what was I thinking, of course you didn’t need support! The climax at the end was truly... truly breathtaking! I had the largest grin on my face, seeing and listening to you all give it your all on that fortissimo chord! An absolute success!

At this point, I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say how lucky we were to have the Adderbury Ensemble playing with us! Chris did an absolutely stellar job in fixing a first-rate orchestra who supported the choir with such delicacy, but also shone when we wanted them to. It was an absolute privilege to have them with us, and I can’t wait until our next performance with them. I say this because I’ve been overwhelmed by choir members’ comments on how much they enjoyed Crisantemi. I honestly think that if I weren’t focusing so hard on my conducting I would have just broken down in tears because it was just that moving! The playing from the whole orchestra throughout the concert was impeccable, but the strings truly shone in that bit of Puccini.

And of course, the star of the show, the Messa di Gloria – the whole performance was just filled with life, character, and enough energy to power Deddington! The Kyrie was beautiful, but where the second half came alive was in the Gloria. All throughout the opening I could tell how much fun everyone was having, and I could feel the tingle of excitement from the audience behind me. I’m incredibly grateful to our soloists Michael Gibson and James Berry for their incredible solos in the piece; everything was world-class, and from my point of view they were a dream to follow. I also hope they don’t mind me saying how much they enjoyed singing with you all too. To sum up the Gloria (and the concert as a whole) – someone just behind me, at the end of the Gloria, exclaimed “what an incredible sound!”

The Credo had such passion, and I felt like we really connected all the way through in our interpretation of it. It’s moments like that which I wish everyone could experience from a conductor’s point of view; a choir, orchestra, soloist, and conductor all working in harmony, sharing the same interpretation of a piece of music – truly something magical. The Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei were just perfect. Contrasting those movements with the bombastic, truly ‘Italian’ movements which came before were just such a lovely way to end our concert, and really provided such wonderful distinction and character to the bigger sounds we explored earlier in the work. I’m putting the lack of immediate applause at the end of the work down to the audience being stunned... rather, profoundly moved... by the performance as a whole.

I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved in the performance, and can’t wait to see what else we can achieve!

I think it goes without saying that I’m incredibly grateful to the hard work and diligence of everyone involved “backstage” to ensure we put on a brilliant concert. The committee, for all of their work in organising the rehearsals, venues, music, concert details, among so many other things; all those who publicised the concert, through posting online, designing posters and programmes, selling tickets; and those who came early and stayed behind late to help set up the church, and the rehearsals, and put in so much ‘manual-labour’ to ensure everything happened so seamlessly. We couldn’t put on a concert like that without an incredible team of volunteers who ensure everything actually happens, so thank you all!

What we will do on 27th April

Obviously there’s nothing for you to actually prepare yet, so all I ask is that you check out this term’s Spotify playlist below, and keep you eyes peeled for when a marked-up score becomes available. It’s going to be such a fun summer term!

Spotify Link

The Spotify playlist for our “Pomp and Pimms” concert is HERE.

Have a lovely Easter break, and see you all on the 27th April.
– Ben