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Spring Season 2019

Concert Feedback for Audience Members
23rd March 2019, St Nicolas Church, Newbury

We hope you enjoyed the concert as much as we did rehearsing and performing the work. We perform interesting works and strive always to sing to the highest standards. We value audience feedback and would very much like to hear from you.

The programme

Haydn: The Seasons

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Helen Bomgardner on :

I so enjoyed your concert on Saturday. The performance was exciting, dramatic and fun.The singing was expressive, the dynamics were effective and the diction was crystal clear.The orchestra was most impressive . Although the horns drowned the words in the hunting chorus, they added so much excitement. All soloists were superb - I particularly enjoyed the rapport between the tenor and soprano! Above all, it was great to see so many of the choir enjoying themselves - their enjoyment was infectious.

Carolyn Greenwood on :

Haydn: “The Seasons
Newbury Choral Society
St Nicolas Church, Newbury
23 March 2019

This was an evening of delights conveying to me how skilfully Haydn could paint pictures in sound, in a work which, to be honest, I was not very familiar with. My spirits were lifted immediately the performance began. From the reactions of audience members around me and beyond, I knew I was not alone in this feeling of great enjoyment as the story of the year unfolded under Cathal Garvey’s baton.

Doubtless, to achieve the many contrasting moods as the work progressed will have required time, energy, and lots of hard work from everyone involved in such a demanding performance. A choir practising regularly in one place, then presumably meeting up on the day of the concert with an orchestra which had been practising regularly elsewhere, is a significant challenge, one which was met with courage and ultimate success.

Tone-painting of the rural scenes portrayed, with contrasts of mood, tempo, and timbres, was skilfully achieved. For me the purchase of a well-produced programme was an excellent investment, so that the words being sung and the atmospheres being created could be fully appreciated as the audience was led through the musical story-telling.

The choir sang sensitively, with good appreciation of the mood changes which they were required to illustrate. As the narrative progressed, orchestra, choir and excellent soloists delivered expressive representations of jollity, country pursuits such as hunting, general rejoicing in nature’s gifts and drinking! I really felt the evening’s performance had me in its grip from opening to close, as I found myself swept along in many of the sections.

Charlotte Shaw (Soprano), Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks (Tenor) and Dingle Yandell (Bass), all three with lovely voices which also blended beautifully in their several ensemble sections, were ideally placed in their respective roles. Facial expressions added to the way the text was conveyed, and the audience responded with smiles and chuckles, such was the effect of these singers on their listeners. (On one occasion, the man sitting in front of me almost fell off his seat as one of Charlotte’s astounding very high notes suddenly broke into a momentary silence in the music.)

To have such an orchestra as the Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra (with the addition of Newbury’s talented youthful Matthew Prior playing third horn in the hunting scene), was an excellent choice, for this lyrical and tuneful work. For the many recitatives, there could have been no better accompanist than Steve Bowey, whose musicianship once again showed through in this role.

The choir worked hard and enjoyed hard, with (from where I was sitting) lots of emphasis on diction and feeling for the work’s moods. The range of notes required of them was well-delivered, and the balance was achieved. Only on a couple of occasions were they in danger of losing the power of their well-enunciated words when orchestral sounds seemed to win!

Overall, I hope the audience came away from the event feeling, as I did, that this was a great evening for which congratulations are certainly in order. Thank you, Cathal, for bringing it all together!

CAROLYN GREENWOOD

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