Monday, June 25, 2012


Waltham Singers in the Parish Church

Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee and the joys of summer – despite a damp sky and cool breeze – the Waltham Singers brought us some very polished singing, and some fine pianism as well.
The summery pieces included a controlled but expressive Brahms' Zigeunerlieder, in the original German, and Bob Chilcott's hugely enjoyable Fables from Aesop. The words crucial here too, and I was very impressed with the articulation, especially in the titles and the morals – Slow But Steady, Much Ado, Sour Grapes and so on – which were models of choral speaking.

Alan Bullard's Summer Garland was commissioned by the choir ten years ago for the Golden Jubilee. "Pleasantly pastoral" I called it then, and it was good to hear it again, given two performances astride the interval. The busy bee, with buzzing and description tossed around amongst the voices, the idyllic acrostic epilogue from Alice, and the lively dance of the holiday Summer Queen were all imaginatively set and beautifully performed. Britten's Choral Dances – opening with a joyous peal of bells – also harked back to the Coronation.

The accompanist was Tim Carey, who gave us bonuses by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and, delightfully appropriate, Grainger's jolly Country Gardens, in duet with Kate Hanson.

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