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Review 30 November 2013

Bach: A Christmas Oratorio & Vivaldi: Gloria

30 November 2013 at the Castle School

It was good to see The Castle School’s hall full for Thornbury Choral Society concert on 30th November. Performing two well-known works, the Vivaldi Gloria and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, no doubt helped to sell tickets and the audience would not have gone home disappointed.  The Gloria started with a joyous introduction by the orchestra, ably led by Katy Latham. The pace was good and Vivaldi’s distinctive trademark melodic and rhythmic patterns prepared the way for the chorus’ opening “Gloria in excelsis Deo”. The two young soprano soloists, Jennifer Walker and Stephanie Harrison, sang beautifully in the “Laudamus te” section, their voices blending well together.The French style dotted rhythms of the lively “Domine Fili” section were well executed and the talented counter tenor Sebastian Field impressed in the “Domini Deus” and “Qui Sede” sections. Apart from a couple of slightly hesitant soprano entries the choir brought the piece to a rousing conclusion.

The choir really came alive for the Christmas Oratorio making a great sound in the opening chorus. The tenor soloist, Alexei Winter, sang the Evangelist’s part confidently and Sebastian Field’s recitative and aria were beautifully sung. The choir sang movingly in the chorale sections, with clear diction and following the conductor, Steven Kings, so that they were always together. The bass soloist, Daniel Robson, sang strongly and really engaged with the audience. His duets with the soprano, Jennifer Walker, were excellent and her voice was most fitting as the Angel.

Mention must be made of the excellent orchestra. The solo oboe and trumpet performed well and the timpanist always confidently on cue. Steven Kings did a very good job conducting both choir and orchestra. Thornbury should be justly proud of its Choral Society.

Gill Holmes