Choir Reviews

Review by Ken Sterling

Here’s the full review of our concert on May 26th. 2012 at Newport Trinity Methodist church, by Ken Sterling, former head of music at The Grove school Market Drayton, and director of Market Drayton Choral Society.

The Beaumaris Singers have been an active and much-respected chamber choir in Shropshire since they were founded by Keith Orrell almost twenty five years ago.

The choir’s latest concert, in Trinity Church , Newport last Saturday, was a celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with much of the music being directly linked to her majesty through her coronation.

In the first half of the evening the choir showed their ability with both the large-scale anthem, ‘I was glad when thy said unto me’ by Hubert Parry and with small-scale madrigals from ‘The Triumph of Oriana’ compiled as early as 1601. In the anthem ‘O, Taste and See’ the soprano solo was admirably sung by Ros Crouch: what a difficult task when the audience is as close as it was in Trinity Church !

Written for the coronation of James II in 1685, Henry Purcell’s anthem ‘My Heart is Inditing’ is one of his most elaborate compositions. The choir is required to divide into eight parts: no mean feat for a choir of twenty four! It speaks volumes for the Beaumaris Singers that not only did they have the confidence to sing the work but that it was performed so well.

Of course with so many pieces on the programme it is inevitable that the odd ‘gremlin’ would creep into the music somewhere. One of the madrigals was not always as secure as it might have been and Walton’s ‘Jubilate Deo’ remained suitably joyous even when the ensemble was slightly awry.

A crucial role in many of the pieces was the organ accompaniment which was delivered with impressive expertise, by Nigel Argust who also provided three appropriate solos including a rousing performance of William Walton’s ‘Crown Imperial.’

After the interval the choir continued to show their prowess with music by, among others, William Walton, and John Ireland. The highlight for me was Vaughan-Williams’s ‘Silence and Music,’ sung with complete confidence and with a mastery of pitch and dynamics which was truly impressive.

What Jubilee concert would be complete without Handel’s ‘Zadok, the Priest’? A fixture now at British coronations since that of George II, it was composed by George Frederick Handel, a German composer, and newly naturalised British subject, in 1727. This was followed by a couple of verses of the ‘National Anthem’ and ‘ Jerusalem ’ in which the choir were joined by an enthusiastic audience.

So ended a delightful evening of music expertly presided over by Simon Collins at the end of his first year as the choir’s Director. How satisfying that the concert took place in an almost capacity church and was so much enjoyed by all!