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2007 Spring Concert

 

 

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What a fine sound The Beaminster Singers make! The benefits of their recent increase in membership were obvious from the moment they began their Easter Concert in Beaminster Church on Sunday 25th March. In the opening item, the lovely Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure, Director Hilary Kenway drew from her choir a sonorous, focussed sound with well balanced parts, the piece being expressively sung with a good range of dynamics, although the full power of the choir was yet to come! The piano accompaniment was impeccably played by Antony Saunders.

The remainder of the concert was devoted to The Crucifixion by John Stainer. This was for the audience a both a musical delight and a spiritual Easter message. The drama and the deeper meaning of this major event in the Church year was vividly communicated to all of us who were listening. Hilary inspired her singers to excellence, with very expressive singing, from the subtle nuances of pianissimos in the well known God so loved the World to the full-blooded fortissimos at the climaxes of the famous Fling Wide the Gates, and the shouts of Crucify! Antony Saunders, now as organist, did wonders to coax impressive sounds and effective accompaniments from the small, temporary house organ. The shorter solo passages were ably sung by members of the choir.

Harvey Rathbone sang the main Bass solo parts, beginning perhaps a little tentatively, but as the work progressed, with more conviction, eloquently underlining the pathos of the agony on the cross. Tenor Craig Downes, in the important narrative passages, was also expressive, and impressively dramatic where the music called for it, maintaining a good liaison with the accompanist.

The diction of all the singers throughout was commendably clear and the choir succeeded in the essential requirement of communicating with their audience. There is no doubt that the whole performance had a profound effect on us all, as many remarks I heard afterwards testified. Hilary and her musicians well deserve high praise.

Jeffery Fraser