Saturday 3 December 2011
Finchley Choral Society
St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill
Haydn Mozart Schubert
St Mary the Virgin is a strangely down at heel building of chipped paint, age settled dust on whitewashed pillars ... and a broken organ. But it has the feel of a congregation that puts its ministry before appearance.
Scheduled to provide accompaniment, the organ failure meant that Richard Harvey was instead given a wonderful Bechstein piano. There was also a last-minute substitution as the brilliant Elizabeth Poole took over the soprano roles. And, following a gloriously Happy Event on the eve of the concert, the regular conductor Grace Rossiter handed her baton to the multi-talented Patrick Russil.
In the first piece, the wonderful Amens of Mozart's Sancta Maria, mater dei had the audience's hairs standing on the back of our collective necks. His much better known Ave Verum Corpus managed in just 46 bars to delight everyone in St Mary’s. So much so that we forgot to applaud!
The two Mendelssohn works were welcome. The choir's rendition of his Prayer for Peace supported Robert Schuman's description of the work as ' a uniquely beautiful composition .. this little piece deserves to be known the world over.'
By Schubert's Mass in G, the choir was clearly fully recovered, in great voice and thoroughly enjoying the noises they were making. Their whispered Kyrie was soon joined by Elizabeth's remarkable soprano voice. Hayden's Te Deum was delivered with a fine, animated start - crystal clear and with strong purpose.
The lack of orchestra placed Finchley Choral society firmly centre stage. They worked hard and delivered all that the stand in conductor asked. But it was hard to avoid the conclusion that the presence of an orchestra, however small, would have added greatly to the enjoyment of the evening. Despite all this the choir really lifted itself to deliver a memorable series of performances demanded by this well-chosen programme.
For details of their concert on 24th March in Hampstead Garden Suburb, www.finchleychoral.org.uk
David Winskill. Ham and High.
Haydn Te Deum in C
Mozart Sancta Maria, Mater Dei
Schubert Magnificat in C
Mass in G
Saturday 3rd December 2011
St. Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill
London NW3 3DJ at 7.45pm
FINCHLEY CHORAL SOCIETY
Soprano Emma Tring
Mezzo-Soprano Lucy Goddard
Tenor Robert Johnston
Bass Philip Tebb
Organ Richard Harvey
Conductor Patrick Russill
Tickets: £13.00, Students £7.00, Children £1.00
Available from FCS Box Office: 0207 263 3358
FCS Members, on the door, or from
Les Aldrich Music, 98 Fortis Green Road
London N10 3HN, 0208 883 5631