Post-concert Newsletter 25th November 2019

We are receiving plenty of praise for last night’s concert from singers, players and audience. Here are a few comments:

I really enjoyed it. My friends in the audience (there were 8 of them!) said that it was fabulous. Katie and Christopher were wonderful of course and Warwick and his chums were superb as usual.

The concert seemed to go pretty well from where I was.

Well done! We enjoyed last night’s performance. Once again there was a good balance between the choir and Ensemble/Organ. I thought the soprano’s diction was excellent and my wife liked the delicacy of the In Paradisum.

I’ve had very positive audience feedback. One lady said that the Rutter had moved her to tears (in a good way).

The feedback from my guests was very positive.

Our guests, who attended the concert yesterday, said that the performance was “wonderful and undertaken to a highly professional standard”.

Our Reviewer, Clive Hook, as well as writing a Review for Publication has sent us this:

For the choir only (not for publication)
The required 250 word limit (to get it published in the paper) for the review of two requiems does not do justice to your efforts. I actually wrote 300 so let’s hope they give it the space you deserve.
One of the things that makes your performance so engaging is the obvious energy and enthusiastic presence you show in your faces and your attention to both the music and the conductor. You are an important part of the visual as well as auditory performance – well done on maintaining your energy and focus throughout both pieces.
I love your precision and attention to detail both in your musicality and your diction. Great to hear domine not dominaaeeey as is so often the case in choral performances.
One of my favourite recordings of the Rutter Requiem is the King’s College Cambridge under Stephen Cleobury and it was thus particularly poignant to hear this just after his untimely passing – I hope he could hear you! Great work on a piece that requires so many different types of energy and is not the easiest sing by any means…people around me were delighted and surprised by the piece and one of my neighbours in the congregation said she would rethink her funeral music ideas based on this!
I thought this was an inspired choice of programme design – I’m fascinated by the similarities and differences between the pieces and it was great to hear your exploration and equally inspiring performance – I love the extra “edge” your hear in a new piece which requires that focus and attention.
Well done the basses for your solid foundation. There’s more to be had from you but you’ve got a lot of sopranos and altos to get through for your voices to be heard). I think you did a sterling job in being heard and playing your vital role in both pieces. The acoustics in this church favour the higher ranges so there’s more to do than normal to make your presence felt.
I would have liked more from the tenors in the Faure – again, I know it’s a numbers thing. The altos were there to add strength in the “Requiem aeternam” part of the Introit & Kyrie and the Agnus Dei but this means we get a warm, mellow sound (because they’re singing in the lower part of the range) which, for me, is not as exciting as the sharpness of tenors in their upper ranges which cuts through the richness of the other lines. In the Rutter Agnus Dei you achieved a beautiful haunting tone in the opening on your own against the heartbeat of the drum. Interesting that both composers use a high tenor opening.
The sopranos were beautifully balanced and melodic – your opening in the Rutter Sanctus for example where you matched the ringing tones (always sounds like a Christmas piece to me). The need for sotto voce in parts of the Rutter was well executed without losing your presence. In the Faure you drifted slightly flat a couple of times (most notably at the end of the Offertorium where your final B(?) is echoed by the organ) and Carleton’s upward finger in In Paradisum reminded you to get on top of the notes. I wonder if you can actually hear the organ where you are located. It was not as loud as I expected in a few places and that would make it more difficult to correctly pitch.
The altos had their chance to shine in the opening of the Faure Offertorium and showed their true worth – beautiful singing and precision. Like the sopranos, I admire your precision, energy and agility given your numbers – easy to get sluggish. Your performance was so much more than an underpinning harmony. Real energy and commitment.
As a whole choir, your professionalism and polish shone through as expected. I’m always slightly worried that large choirs like this will not be nimble in their entries, exits and dynamics but you pulled off a light touch whilst providing the power and majestic climaxes that both pieces called for at times, for example the Hosanna in excelsis at the end of the Sanctus in both Rutter and Faure.
There’s always a feeling with you as a choir that we have just witnessed a professional performance of a very high standard and, as I said in the public review, this was a warming and comforting experience on a cold, wet November night. Thank you for your invitation – a delightful evening of old and new in a perfectly balanced programme.

My wife hosted a dinner party for all our friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen for ages and everyone was encouraged to bring their children.
All through the meal my wife’s best friend’s four-year-old daughter stared at me as I sat opposite her. The girl could hardly eat her food for staring. I checked my shirt for spots, felt my face for food and patted my hair in place but nothing stopped her from staring at me. I tried my best to ignore her but finally it was too much for me.
I asked her, “Why are you staring at me?” Everyone at the table had noticed her behavior and the table went quiet for her response. The little girl said, “I’m just waiting to see how you drink like a fish…”