It was lovely to be back at Douai Abbey,
following its closure for repairs and the building looked resplendent in
the evening sunshine. Newbury Choral Society dedicated its midsummer
concert to Godfrey Abbott, a lifelong member who sadly passed away last
year and there were two wonderful tributes inside the programme, from
the choir and from Godfrey’s daughter, Sue.
The first half consisted of the first movement of
Rutter’s Gloria and Lauridsen’s lush and quirky Lux Aeterna.
A challenge for any choir, this five movement piece gave each section
the chance to shine (there were some lovely blended sounds from the
tenor section) and we enjoyed the delicious dissonance, the gently
flowing lullaby style third movement and satisfyingly rousing
three-in-a-bar Veni, Sancte Spiritus.
Newbury Choral Society: Lux Aeterna, at Douai Abbey, on Saturday, June 29
The outer movements are unmistakably from the pen of this inspired composer and this was one of the highlights.
Musical Director, Cathal Garvey, announced each
piece and explained that, although the concert was woven around a 20th
century theme, they were going to take a sojourn back to the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries with Purcell’s I Was Glad and
Tomkins’ I Heard A Voice From Heaven and these two made an
interesting foil for the remainder of the second half.
The choir is planning its forthcoming trip to Norway (how exciting) and so, it was appropriate to hear something by Grieg and his Ave, maris stella delighted us with its lovely melodies, showing off the purity of the soprano section.
Lots of stamping and finger clicking from Cathal
suggested the choir wasn’t overly confident with Vaughan Williams’
Three Shakespeare Songs but they were soon back on form with a
self-assured performance of Britten’s Festival Te Deum. Special
mention to the talented organist and pianist, Steve Bowey, what would
Newbury do without him?
Reproduced with the kind permission of Newbury Weekly News