20th June 2009
Jim Hutchon went to Great Waltham Parish Church
The Waltham Singers Summer concert programme consisted of two major works, Mozart’s Solemn Vespers and Handel’s Dixit Dominus. The 60-strong choir performed to a packed Great Waltham Church, accompanied by Camerata of London, an orchestra of younger musicians performing on modern instruments.
The choir’s trademark is a strong, rounded chorus with a wide tonal range, which Conductor Andrew Fardell brought out in both of these demanding works. Soloists were Stefanie Kemball-Reid (soprano), Aurore Lacabe (mezzo-sprano), Peter Wilman (tenor) and Samuel Queen(Baritone). Stefanie Kemball-Reid especially excelled with a clear striking tone in the key soprano solo in Mozart’s setting of Psalm 116, the Laudate Dominum.
Andrew Fardell also brought an extra resonance and relaxing voicing to Handel’s Dixit Dominus which, the programme notes tell us, were written when the composer was on a three-year visit to Rome in 1707, and shows his virtuosity writing in the Italian style. High spot of this work for me was a beautifully balanced voice/cello duet featuring Aurore Lacabe. The conductor kept great control over the exuberant choir, and allowed the work to grow to a glorious climax in the concluding Gloria Patri.
This was an evening of superb voices and great music of which the choir can be justly proud.