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2010 Autumn Concert

 

 

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If you were not in Beaminster Church last Saturday evening when the Beaminster Singers conducted by Hilary Kenway presented their concert called “Magnificat”, you missed a treat. The first thing that caught the eye was the steeply tiered staging which allowed every row of the large choir to see and be seen, projecting their singing with improved clarity.
The opening anthem “I was Glad” by Parry revealed the strength of this choir, sustaining the long, measured phrases with admirable breath control and accurate tuning, building up to the thrilling coda with firm, full-voiced power.

It was good to see many young players in the orchestra, led by Louise Bevan, and even more pleasing was their playing, which was of professional standard, accurate and sensitive to the demands of accompanying. Their support of the singing throughout was impeccable both in soft passages and triumphant climaxes with trumpets, drums and all! 

Antony Saunders similarly provided excellently judged organ accompaniments, from continuo to all-out full organ when needed, with scholarly style in this and the other pieces throughout the concert.
Hilary held all these forces came together in J.S.Bach’s joyful Magnificat. The choir marked the contrapuntal entries well and it was very evident that this choir  enjoys its singing.

Amy Carson, soprano, performed the long solo in this piece artistically with delightfully pure, unforced tone. Mezzo Lucie Spickova and tenor Martin Hindmarsh with well judged expression blended well in their duet. Bass Callum Thorpe gallantly and very capably stood in at short notice, his powerful voice restrained in the softer passages, more evident in the quartet’s louder passages.

I want to say what a joy it was to hear such well blended and musically sensitive soloists whose concern was to produce beautiful, unforced tone.

Linda le Breton and Mandy Alford left the choir’s ranks to join the other lady soloists in the Suscepit Israel, these four voices beautifully united in what I felt was that special moment in the concert that was pure perfection.

Vierne’s short and reflective “Tantum Ergo” required a quite different style of singing from the choir, who seem able to change gears with ease, capturing the French musical idiom effectively.

The concert ended with Haydn’s St Nicholas Mass displaying the choir’s command of a wide range of well graded dynamics and good attack. The quartet’s singing was refined and moving, and the choir’s lovely soft tone ideal for the final Agnus Dei. High praise for the orchestra whose playing of the difficult accompaniment was masterly.

Hilary held these large forces together throughout with verve, clarity and inspired musicianship. We are very fortunate here to have such outstanding musicians, giving us performances the equal of those given in London and other cities by professionals. It was a most enjoyable, musical evening. 

Jeffery Fraser