Review: St Albans Chamber Choir's certainly Got Rhythm!

John Gibbons, St Albans Chamber Choir's Musical Director.

John Gibbons, St Albans Chamber Choir's Musical Director. - Credit: St Albans Chamber Choir

Audience member Alan Knott reviews St Albans Chamber Choir's concert I Got Rhythm in St Saviour’s Church on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

With each successive concert John Gibbons, St Albans Chamber Choir’s Musical Director, appears to set new and greater challenges for the choir.

Continuing the choir’s new-found Saturday afternoon concert pattern, June 11 in St Saviour’s Church at 2pm was no exception.

I Got Rhythm gave the choir an opportunity to shine, not only with rhythm but also with rich and complex harmonic interchanges between choir and soloists.

The title of the concert could well have been America in the 20th Century, with music by Aaron Copland, Eric Whitacre (Lux Aurumque was written in 2000), Morten Lauridsen and George Gershwin. 

Birthday Madrigals by John Rutter made up the programme. Written in 1995 as a 75th birthday celebration of the great American jazz pianist George Shearing, and rather different from the style usually expected from this popular British composer, it echoed the rhythmic and harmonic complexities of the other pieces.

The concert began with Copland’s In the Beginning, the solo soprano part beautifully sung by Fleur Moore-Bridger.

Most Read

The piano solos in the Lauridsen and Gershwin items required a demanding keyboard technique, played with great verve by Susie Arbeid.  

The Birthday Madrigals were accompanied by Rob Tanner on the double bass. As with the other solo parts, it provided a rich musical contrast which added to the whole.

It would be wrong to single out one piece but for the reviewer the standout was the Lauridsen Nocturnes, four pieces taking the listener on an emotional journey.

All voices in the choir played their part with solid support from the lower voices to high Bs and Cs from the sopranos - a magical effect.

As a listener one was left at the end of the concert exhausted yet exhilarated.

For more on the choir, visit www.stalbanschamberchoir.org.uk