Concerts and Reviews
Serenade to Music
Our next concert will be in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 8th July 2023 at 7:30 pm when we will perform a joint concert with Ely Sinfonia of music by Vaughan Williams, Beethoven and Chilcott.
The concert was first planned for July 2020, but Covid intervened. Great Beethoven works (the 8th Symphony and the Choral Fantasia, which includes a concerto-like piano solo) sit side by side with two contrasting but fabulous pieces by Vaughan Williams (still celebrating his 150th Anniversary last October!) and Bob Chilcott, one of the most prolific choral composers of today.
What makes this concert really special is the collaboration between Ely Choral Society and Ely Sinfonia, whose conductors share the podium.
With Natalia Williams-Wandoch piano, Ely Choral Society and Ely Sinfonia conducted by Andrew Parnell and Steve Bingham.
Tickets will be on sale in mid-May at £25, £20, £10, (£5 for U18) from the cathedral box office or at www.elycathedral.org/events
A fine concert of music by Mozart and Haydn was presented on Saturday 22nd April 2023 in Ely Cathedral.
Taking part were Ely Choral Society, Susanna MacRae (soprano), Emma Lewis (mezzo soprano), Richard Symons (tenor), Harley Jones (bass), Camerata East (orchestra), Glen Dempsey (organist) and Andrew Parnell (conductor).
The evening opened with the ‘Divertimento in D for Strings’ by Mozart’ played by the orchestra, ‘Camerata East’ and it did, indeed, prove entertaining. Under the keen leadership of Helen Medlock in violin 1 position, these fine musicians were constantly together and worked unanimously to develop and highlight the variety of expressions ranging from the light, joyful opening and the strong, beautiful togetherness of the Andante to the amazingly rapid runs that never faltered in the Presto. The clarity and expressiveness of their performance were phenomenal.
The next work in the programme was the ‘Salve Regina’ by Haydn. Of the soloists in this work, the soprano and tenor were particularly impressive. It was here that the tenor’s ‘presence’ was clearly felt, while the soprano demonstrated a phenomenal technique and expressive awareness that was noticeable throughout all her performance this evening. The mezzo soprano was also a valued contributor. The choir was well founded, had a strong well-balanced tone and was particularly well-focused as it was in its performance throughout the evening. In this piece, the organist, showed particular skill in providing subtle effects that enhanced the music considerably.
The finale, the ‘Requiem’ by Mozart, although familiar, was a tribute to the real value of listening to music live. There were constant reminders of the value of subtle adaptations and changes within the scope of the expressions required. The bassoon and clarinet were especially melodious in the ‘Kyrie Eleison.’ The deep tones of the basses and bass brass instruments brought forth a strong sense of the darkness within this work.
Especially noticeable was the trombone in Tuba Mirum. The women’s voices branched into beautiful angelic moments at times and were equally able to combine with the others to produce a very strong, declarative statement as in the opening of the ‘Sanctus’. The tears in the Lacrimosa were beautifully expressed in the orchestra. The parts balanced and gave strong expression in the more contrapuntal entries when one part replicated the other to produce a denser, one might say – more traumatic – texture.
There were numerous other subtleties that made the whole work a mesmerising and unforgettable testament to the timelessness of Mozart’s music and its effects. Congratulations must go to the conductor, Andrew Parnell for such a fine evening of excellent music.
Ely Choral Society’s next concert is on Saturday 8th July 2023 in Ely Cathedral with Ely Sinfonia. They will perform works Vaughan Williams, Beethoven and Chilcott.