A Grand Celebration
All Saints Church, Low Catton 1 July 2018
There was plenty to celebrate at the final concert of the summer given by The Stamford Bridge Singers, conducted by Stuart Nettleship, with the Field Quartet and the guest tenor Robert Peel. There were Silver, Gold and Diamond wedding anniversaries to celebrate as well as a significant birthday, together with some departures, and there was a wide variety of music chosen to delight the large and appreciative audience. Also a delight was the hospitality shown by church members and in particular buffet in the interval.
The first half of the concert featured sacred music from Vivaldi , the first movement of the Gloria, and Bach’s beautiful Jesu, Joy of man’s desiring. The choir were in good voice for these pieces and were ably accompanied by Jeremy Lloyd on the keyboard and the Field Quartet. The choir moved into French mode to sing La Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré and two movements from Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem, which the choir are singing in full in November. Victoria sang the Pie Jesu with great tenderness and skill and the organ accompaniment by Jeremy was subtle and sensitive. Many found this piece profoundly moving. Robert Peel sang three songs by Ivor Gurney, and the Field Quartet ended the first half with Mozart’s Divertimento in F, which was played with zest.
The second half started with a short medley of Gershwin songs, and showed that the choir could still swing! Jenny Chen, who will sadly be leaving for a new job down south, was the soloist in Howard Goodall’s Psalm 23, better known as the music from The Vicar of Dibley. Robert Peel, the guest tenor, sang three songs, including Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ Silent Noon, with the beautifully haunting line “ your eyes smile peace”. The Field Quartet, using original music!, played Borodin’s Notturno, with the particularly beautiful ending, before the choir sang Somewhere from West Side Story in an arrangement by Mark Randle, with a special arrangement for strings. In the medley from Les Misérables there were a number of soloists from within the choir which added to the variety and interest in this very tuneful selection of songs from the show.
Finally, Jeremy Lloyd accompanied the choir on the organ for the last time, as he too is moving on down south, in a spirited rendition of Jerusalem by Hubert Parry, whose is also ‘celebrating’ the centenary of his death.
A concert of celebrations indeed.