Wokingham Today

A marvellous Messiah

Wokingham Choral Society Great Hall, University of Reading Saturday, March 24

- Robin J Eaglen

HANDEL’S Messiah must rank as the favourite oratorio of British musical audiences. It is almost unbelievab­le that he wrote it in the space of 24 days, but this probably explains the remarkable cohesion he achieved between the resources of orchestra, choir and soloists.

The work was given a truly memorable performanc­e by the Wokingham Choral Society in the Great Hall of Reading University on Saturday.

The concert was preceded by an insightful talk by the music historian, Dr Katie Bank.

In performanc­e It became immediatel­y apparent that the choir was on top form, capturing perfectly the different moods of the choruses and singing with exemplary clarity and diction, a credit both to the singers themselves and to the telling influence of their musical director, Patrick Allies.

As always, The Hampstead Chamber Orchestra, led by Katarina Ðordević, played with exquisite sonority, and the four young soloists, Christine Buras, Jess Dandy, William Wallace and Michael Mofidian, with the society’s accompanis­t Benedict Lewis-Smith on continuo, completed a faultless ensemble with their vocal and visual expressive­ness.

From the many magical moments nothing surpassed (for the writer) the poignancy of the choir singing the words ‘And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all’.

The evening, from every aspect, resulted in a flagship performanc­e.

The summer concert of the Society will take place in All Saints Church, Wokingham, on Saturday, June 23 at 7.30pm.

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