Concerts and Reviews
In Excelsis Deo
Our next concert will be in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 21st October 2024 at 7:30 pm when we will perform Vivaldi’s Gloria and the Mass in D by Dvořák together with an organ solo and Etheldreda from ‘Fenland Images’ by Parnell.
Gloriously spiritual works begin and end this concert. Vivaldi’s Gloria ranks among the most popular choral pieces, full of both vivacious and intimate baroque sonorities. The Mass in D by Dvořák is more lyrical and prayerful than dramatic, reflecting Dvořák’s love of nature and evoking the countryside surrounding the chapel for which the work was written. An organ solo and Etheldreda from ‘Fenland Images’ by the conductor Andrew Parnell, complete the programme. Local soloists join forces with Ely’s largest choir making this a delightful autumn concert.
With Rebecca Duckworth soprano, Lynette Alcantara mezzo-soprano, Sam Madden tenor, Jonathan Midgley bass, Glen Dempsey organ and Ely Choral Society.
Conducted by Andrew Parnell
Tickets are on sale at £25, £20, £10 and £5 for under 18s from the cathedral box office or at www.elycathedral.org/events
Review of Ely Choral Society and Ely Sinfonia’s concert on Saturday 8th July 2023 in Ely Cathedral.
If ever there was a serenade to music, there was this concert. Ely Choral Society and Ely Sinfonia with a full complement of performers, combined to give rich resonance to the gorgeous melodic material and full harmonies offered by many of the compositions.
The most mesmerising works were Fantasia on Greensleeves and Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. When I heard the flute and harp begin the opening Fantasia on Greensleeves I knew we were in for an evening of very high-quality music: the very reason for us attending a live performance when the quality of the music is so much more noticeable. This was followed by an exquisite warmth from the strings that lead us into the familiar Greensleeves melody. We were transfixed.
I thought that the Beethoven pieces offered would be more mundane, less sophisticated items, but they proved their worth with the excitement and new life that the conductors, Steve Bingham and Andrew Parnell, managed to infuse in this 19th century composer’s works. Symphony number 8 conducted by Steve Bingham was particularly alive.
The Choral Fantasia by Beethoven was well managed by conductor Andrew Parnell and much of the opening gave the solo pianist, Natalia Williams-Wandoch, a chance to flourish while typical Beethoven contrast and agile runs gave moments of fine virtuosic display. The real message of the work came when the choir quietly entered, only to build up to raise joyous extolling of the beauty of nature in typical Beethoven style.
A more modern approach to full texture and many-noted chords was provided by Bob Chilcott’s Canticles of Light when there were more obvious clashes included within the texture. The choir rose to the challenge magnificently and the Youth Choir’s angelic singing above was wonderful.
This was indeed a most successful concert and one day many more local people will come to realize that there is no need to travel great distances to hear excellent music – they only need to come to Ely Cathedral to hear Ely Choral Society and Ely Sinfonia in action.
Ely Choral Society’s next concert is on Saturday 21st October 2023 in Ely Cathedral. They will perform Vivaldi’s Gloria and the Mass in D by Dvořák.