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Choir continue their journey

PUBLISHED: 10:29 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010

Carillon Chamber Choir continued this season s chronological journey through the choral repertoire with a delightful concert of classical and Romantic music at St Peter s Church last Saturday. Guest conductor Simon Joly is best known for his extensive wo

Carillon Chamber Choir continued this season's chronological journey through the choral repertoire with a delightful concert of classical and Romantic music at St Peter's Church last Saturday.

Guest conductor Simon Joly is best known for his extensive work in contemporary music but he had chosen some highlights of the Romantic choral repertoire for this concert.

Two of the composers featured are best known for their solo songs but here demonstrated their equal ability in choral writing.

Schubert contributed the substantial and varied Gebet (Prayer) which allowed the choir to show its expertise in both extremes of dynamic range, a beautiful Psalm 23 Gott ist mein Hirt (The Lord is my Shepherd) and a charming setting of a short poem warning young ladies against the perils of too much dancing, Der Tanz.

Hugo Wolf's Sechs Geistliche Leider (Six Sacred Songs) reached a wonderful climax after a slightly shrill start and allowed the men of the choir to enjoy motifs from Tristan by Wagner, a great influence on Wolf.

The rest of the choral programme consisted of some better-known works by Mendelssohn and Brahms, concluding with his Abendständchen (Evening Serenade).

In contrast to the Romantic lushness, reader Chris Bramwell offered Keats, Yeats and Eliot, finishing with a splendid performance of Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter.

The unexpected bonus of the evening was the two piano solos, Mozart's Fantasia in C minor K475 and Beethoven's Sonata No.31 in A flat op.110, played by the gifted young Russian pianist Alissa Firsova, who also accompanied some of the choral pieces.

The daughter of composers, Alissa was educated locally at the Purcell School before continuing at the Royal Academy of Music and if the assurance and emotional depth she brought to her interpretations here is any guide, she is heading for a very successful future.

Gabrielle Shepstone

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