The Stamford Bridge Singers under Stuart Nettleship’s baton, were in playful mood in the Village hall on Saturday night and this concert featured the choir and a large number of soloists singing a wide range of styles; from Gershwin via Gilbert and Sullivan to Grieg, and with many diversions in between, including an amusing set of parodies from Lewis Carroll’s Alice.
Helen Jones was the very able accompanist and she and the choir showed their versatility coping on the one hand with Gershwin’s jazz rhythms and then Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and the several key changes.
The evening was very informative; not all madrigals are happy. One of the highlights of the first half was Gibbons’ The Silver Swan, which is a sad and sensitive song, ending with the lines “more geese than swans now live, more fools than wise”.
Another highlight was the G & S sequence and in particular the Handel parody from the little know opera Princess Ida.
In both halves of the concert Eleanor Audet sang an aria and recitative from two different Handel operas. The beauty and the clarity of her voice were greatly appreciated and admired.
One of the highlights from the second half was the Histerical Anthology of rare Vocal Music, collected by Ortega Barco. This was an educative as well as entertaining romp through musical history, where the friendship circle of a certain famous welsh politician was explored through many different musical styles. There were also references to the vexing question about the meaning of birth, and whether beauty was an important facet. The choir shifted nearly seamlessly from style to style, triumphed the work of some lesser known composers, for example PDQ Bach and Henry Persil.
A good time was had by all, and there was also a serious side to the concert, as it was raising money for St Catherine’s Hospice in memory of Anne Caley, a former choir member.