Well, that was a bit brilliant! Well done to you all for another outstanding concert, I don’t think it could’ve gone much better! Feedback on the concert below, as well as a few other bits, so I’m very grateful for your careful reading.
Overall, the whole evening was a roaring success! I’m so pleased with how the choir sounded, how the text was projected and the performance across the entire evening. Before I dive into my breakdown, I’ve received a few comments about how great the evening was, including “The sustained notes at the end of several of the pieces were spine tinglingly wonderful, perfectly held, and soft and gentle”, “The opening with the Cantique de Jean Racine set a beautiful and delicate tone to the evening. The choir sang with precision and rounded beautiful tone. Lots of colour and expression was brought out particularly in To Music and Ave Verum at the end. . . . This was a real treat of an evening and the audience were sent home smiling!” and I even overheard at the interval an audience member saying “This is the best I’ve ever heard the choir sound!” – high praise indeed, and I couldn’t agree more!
The programme, while fairly accessible, was designed to push you out of your comfort zone, as a lot of it couldn’t be done accompanied or needed a different style of sound and type singing than that which we normally strive for. You rose to this challenge and absolutely nailed it! I could sense the joy from everyone in singing the fun madrigals, or the acute listening skills needed for the acapella singing, and the blend was just stonking. My parents commented on how great the blend of the sections were, and this was most noticeable in the upper- and lower-voice only pieces.
It kicked off perfectly with the Fauré, setting the bar for the quality of the concert, and then the unaccompanied pieces shone – If ye love me was particularly good, but the madrigals that followed were so exciting. Well done with It was a Lover; every verse was different and brought new character to the music – shame though Tenors/Basses that it was only the 4th and final time we got bar 26 right... I know you were putting all your focus into bar 25... hah! You gave the Drop, drop and the Ave Verum the poignance and space it required and deserved, and it was a beautiful end to the first half.
The start of the second half kicked off brilliantly with As Torrents, and again the blend of the voices has come on leaps and bounds in the acapella pieces. We were slightly on the ‘tired side’ for the Sullivan which fell a little flat, but the quality of the sound was really good (just flat...). Like my parents, I particularly enjoyed the upper- and lower-voice only pieces, and want to give a particular shout out to the tenors and basses for conveying the text so nicely and with such a warm tone! Greensleeves was BRILLIANT! I admit to you now that that was the one I was most worried about, due to the geography of it. But you’d all clearly put the effort in at home and it was confident and assured! Danny Boy was utterly beautiful, and I genuinely nearly teared up... well done! The final set was just a joy – Pastime was perfect (a goosebump-inducing sound in the loud sections), Innsbruck was gorgeous and serene, Now is the Month was lively and filled with energy – which, at the end of a 2-hour concert, is a very hard thing to achieve – and Sumer is Icumen in was just the most wonderful way to end the concert.
I should also mention our excellent instrumental interludes; Bec’s cello playing, I thought, was exquisite, and Wendy and Rowena’s duets were so much fun, especially the Chabrier – what excellent additions to the concert. Of course, a HUGE thank you and well done to Rowena, not just for the concert, but for the whole term. As always she accompanied us perfectly, having supported us expertly in all of our rehearsals. I know I speak on behalf of all of us when I say how much of a pleasure it is to work with her, and we’re so lucky to have her as part of the team.
Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who puts in so much hard work behind the scenes! Without those hidden workers the concerts just wouldn’t happen, let alone be as slick and well produced as they are. I’m so grateful to everyone who helps move chairs, furniture, people, stuff; to those who sell programmes, drinks, tickets, check people in; to those who get up early to solve problems, fix lights, find cushions. The list is endless, and I feel so lucky to be so well supported.
A massive congratulations on another phenomenal concert – here’s to many more!
Mozart Requiem rehearsals – Wednesday 21st June
As you’ll already know, we’ll be starting our Mozart Requiem rehearsals on Wednesday. If you’ve somehow miraculously not heard about it yet, you can find out all about it on a previous Conductor’s Notes post. Please aim to arrive early on Wednesday so we can get scores sorted for you all.
One thing – I’m actually away for an audition on Wednesday (fingers crossed for me please!) so you’ll be joined again by the fabulous Janet Lincé, who’ll masterfully guide you through the Requiem in this first rehearsal.
I look forward to seeing you on the 28th when I’m back.
Our friends over at Cherwell Choral Society have their concert on Saturday 8th July, so do go and support them then, and sing the Mozart on Sunday 9th... what a perfect weekend!
This Week’s listening
I thought it would be interesting to share with you the piece I’ve chosen for my audition on Wednesday – Unicornis Captivatur by Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo. You can find out more about the piece and the text by clicking the title of the work above, and you can hear the piece HERE.
Have a great start to the Mozart, and see you all soon!