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Review: Thornbury Choral Society Concert, 11th May 2019

An interesting programme of dramatic works from Vaughan Williams and Coleridge Taylor played to what appeared to be a full house in Castle School.  The RVW was new to me although there were snippets from various pieces and many typical RVW passages.  I have a recording of Hiawatha but it is a long time since I’ve heard it live, if ever.  As such it was an evening to look forward to and enjoy.

The singers were accompanied by a piano and strings which suited the balance very well from where I was sitting.  The Cotswold Romance is fairly lightly scored with strings sitting out many movements and this probably helped to give good ensemble for the most part.  The tenor soloist, Andrew Henley, was admirable in his role as Hugh the Drover echoing the lighter numbers from Songs of Travel in its style.  The excellent programme notes (maybe there should be a credit for the author) guided us through the story to its happy conclusion.

After the interval the much better known Hiawatha was performed.  This time the strings were more in demand and the good tone of the Thornbury Camerata was nicely managed through the orchestral solos passages.  Throughout the evening the very able pianist, Christopher Northam was kept busy managing the rest of the orchestral score.  The choir obviously enjoyed the piece and told the story.

Dr Steven Kings is to be congratulated on bringing an interesting programme to Thornbury and managing the singers and players to good effect.   An enjoyable evening for TCS and their audience alike.

Chris Hill