Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Royal Performance

Saturday 10th March:

A packed St Mary’s Church was treated to a choral feast on Saturday 10th March. Nearly 100 voices of the Stowmarket Chorale were accompanied by their own symphony orchestra, all under the baton of Leslie Olive. I had bought tickets late and was right at the back, as you can see from this not very good photo.

Charles Parry’s coronation anthem, I Was Glad, opened the evening, and immediately showed the power of this obviously accomplished choir. When I was a student at The Royal College of Music the late HM The Queen Mother was College President. Once a year she would visit and this piece was always performed: she said it reminded her of her husband's coronation. The other connection for me is that Sir C.H.Parry (who also wrote Jerusalem) taught Walford Davies (composer of the RAF March, inter alia) who taught my own organ professor at the College.

Richard Strauss’ moving Four Last Songs followed, sung by Daniela Bechly. Her powerful soprano voice was more than adequate for this large building. I last heard this music live way back in 1970, so it was a real treat for me.

Daniela continued to enthral in Verdi’s Requiem, along with mezzo Emily Bauer Jones, tenor Andrew Morris and Steven Gallop, bass. Once again the musicians filled the church with sound, particularly when the four “off-stage” trumpets at the back of the building joined in the Tuba Mirum, and in the repeated and familiar Dies Irae.

Inevitably, though, it was the solo singers who stole the show, with their excellent and sometimes sublime interpretations of this masterpiece. The “tingle factor” was certainly in evidence, not least in the final Libera me, extracts of which were sung at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. The audience stamped their feet with approval.

Come to Bury more often, Stowmarket Chorale & co!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. It was an uplifting concert. "I was Glad" I went and, like you, look forward to another.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

"We shall go..." then, anonymous. Are you singing in the "scratch" Crucifixion there on Good Friday? (Stainer was my other "musical great-grandfather" having also taught Walford Davies.)

Steve Williams said...

I find it quite upsetting that this is the only comment you have responded to (apart from to Ruby who you obviosly know) when you have such a vocal audience. Some of my comments have not even been published! Maybe my time would be better spent going to a different blooging site?

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

You are wrong "Steve". I have commented to those bloggers who sound genuine, whenever I have had something worth saying, and have deleted some inappropriate comments. I shall continue to try to ensure this site is not misused, and am only making an exception now to let you and others know.

Anonymous said...

I am rehearsing for the next concert but I will not be there for the performance as we will be in France for Easter.

How privileged you were to attend th



e Royal College of Music. I would have liked to study singing but my parents wanted me to do something more "useful". I have encouraged my own children to follow their hearts.

Your comments on the Queen Mother almost brought a tear to my eye. She was my favourite member of the Royal Family and there will never ben anyone quite like her. Prince Charles does his best.

Have you considered joining a choir?

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Far to busy!

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

whoops!...or even too busy.

Anonymous said...

But you must relax and not spend all your time on your duties in Bury St Edmunds!

Susan Hemmingway said...

The Royal College of Music..How impressive! Do you play any other instruments apart from the piano? Can you attach a recording of you playing to this blog so we can hear it? I don't know if that is technically possible but it would be wonderful to hear you!

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

You cannot be serious!

Susan Hemmingway said...

So modest! Would love to hear you playing the piano, if it were possible. I'm sure if you record on to a cd and then put on to your computer via media player then you can attach like you would a photo. Am I wrong? I don't have my own blogging page yet and am not very good with computers. Why not give it a try. I would!

Anonymous said...

wHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA! mUSIC WHILE YOU BLOG!

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

I do not have the technology.

Anonymous said...

Do you have the technology yet? Perhaps you could ask for it for your birthday?