Radlett Choral Society shine with Italian programme

PUBLISHED: 10:33 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 May 2010

A WARM summer evening in Bushey enticed a healthy crowd out to listen to Radlett Choral Society s Italian Serenade, an evening of Italian or Italy inspired music. The conductor, Clive Fairbairn, set the summer mood as he walked onto the rostrum in a white

A WARM summer evening in Bushey enticed a healthy crowd out to listen to Radlett Choral Society's Italian Serenade, an evening of Italian or Italy inspired music.

The conductor, Clive Fairbairn, set the summer mood as he walked onto the rostrum in a white dinner jacket and raised his baton to begin the evening with the delicate opening of the Kyrie in Puccini's Messe di Gloria.

This piece offered quite a variety of dynamics and tempi and there were definite hints of the lighter moments of La Bohème here and there.

The soloists, tenor Greg Tassell and bass Peter Foggitt made light work of some challenging music and the final duet of the mass was beautifully executed.

Sarah Ash from the choir gave a lovely rendition of the Suscipe and she and Marianna Freeman joined the tenor and bass soloists for the Agnus Dei in a charming quartet. There was impressive singing from choir and soloists alike and Nigel Stansfield at the piano accompanied superbly even if the sonority of the electric piano was not quite what Puccini had intended.

The second half of the programme started with an interesting and witty talk by the conductor about the history of madrigals which led to a delightful few minutes of 16th and 17th century madrigal singing from the choir and also gave several members a chance to sing in a small, one voice to a part, group. The madrigals were, again, varied in mood with both bright and sadder themes and were sung with clarity and style.

The wonderful, young violinist, Amanda Lake, accompanied by the conductor, then gave the audience such a convincing rendition of Summer from Vivaldi's Four Seasons that we could hear the birds singing and feel the wind blowing.

She thrilled both choir and audience with the Czardas by Monti, a breathtakingly impressive performance.

The choir followed with the opening chorus of the Verdi Requiem; a taster of the concert they will be giving with other choirs in St Albans Abbey in October. Clive Fairbairn chose The Grand Chorus from Verdi's Aida to bring this concert to a triumphant close and give the audience a wonderful end to their Serata di Musica.

NICOLA CRAIG


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