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Standard fare from St Albans Chamber Choir

PUBLISHED: 11:01 16 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

ALTHOUGH members of Carillon, the St Albans Chamber Choir, presented a pleasing evening of music on Saturday their performance was not up to the group s usual high standard. For their first concert of the new season under guest conductor Nicholas Robinson

ALTHOUGH members of Carillon, the St Albans Chamber Choir, presented a pleasing evening of music on Saturday their performance was not up to the group's usual high standard.

For their first concert of the new season under guest conductor Nicholas Robinson, the choir presented a programme of works by members of the Bach family and other composers who had been influenced by them.

But from the very start of the programme at St Peter's Church in St Albans, with Johan Sebastian Bach's superb unaccompanied motet Komm, Jesu, Komm, there was a little roughness about the choir's performance.

As the programme progressed with Johann Bach's Unser Leben ist ein Schatten and Johann Christoph Bach's Ich Lasse Dich Nicht, Du Senest Mich Dicht there was some improvement although the soloists in the Johannes Bach piece sometimes appear to be lost in the crowd.

The strength of the organ accompaniment, played by Tom Winpenny, undoubtedly helped the choir in Felix Mendelssohn's fine piece Verleih' uns Frieden.

Samuel Wesley's tremendous motet In Exitu Israel which brought the first half to an end is an outstanding piece of music which is still regularly performed in church services across the country and ,as with all the pieces in the first half, Carillon gave an acceptable performance.

The situation was much the same in the second half with Mendelssohn's Warum Toben die Heiden Op 78 no 1 and Richte mich, Gott Op 78 no 2, Johannes Brahms' Geistliches Lied and Wen wir in höchsten Nöten sein and the final piece, Johann Sebastian Bach's Fürchte dich nicht.

While the entire performance was completely acceptable and entertaining the overall standard was not that which we have come to expect from Carillon, although part of the problem is created by the shortage of good tenors from which the choir, along with most other groups, is suffering.

Two of the high spots of the evening were the solo performances in each half by Tom Winpenny. In the first half he played Buxtehude's Praeludium in D minor and in the second Brahms' tremendous Prelude and Fugue in G minor.

JOHN MANNING

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