Choral Society shines at church concert

Ipswich Choral Society: “But Soft! What Light!”, St. Margaret's Church, Ipswich, Saturday, 18 OctoberAs the splendid organ tones of Zadok the Priest, by Handel, rang throughout the church there was immediate awareness that this promised to be an excellent evening.

Ipswich Choral Society: “But Soft! What Light!”, St. Margaret's Church, Ipswich, Saturday, October 18

As the splendid organ tones of Zadok the Priest, by Handel, rang throughout the church there was immediate awareness that this promised to be an excellent evening. This feeling was reinforced by the entry of the choir singing in fine voice and with clarity of diction.

The well-balanced programme continued with Charms and Ceremonies, nine short pieces of verse by Herrick set to music, for female voices, by Michael Hurd.

These are amusing pieces reflecting superstition. Regrettably the words were hard to catch, although the singing and the piano accompaniment by Roy Everett were delightful.


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Organist, William Saunders, played an arrangement of William Boyce's Symphony No 4. It was written, in three movements, as an overture to the opera “The Shepherd's Lottery”. One couldn't fail to be captivated by the cheerfulness of the outer sections and the lilting gentle central movement.

Maybe there was an occasional problem with pitching in Tavener's Song for Athene but the haunting sensitivity was precisely captured by the choir.

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In lighter mode the Sunset Poem by Dylan Thomas that has been set to an Anglican chant, composed by Troyte, was piously given the full tongue-in-cheek rendition by the men of the choir.

Once again William Saunders showed his versatility with the rhythmic Etheldreda Rag that has been transposed for organ from the original piano piece. It was written by Arthur Wills, composer and long-time director of music at Ely Cathedral.

Lux Aeterna by the contemporary American composer Morten Lauridsen was the most substantial work of the evening. This Latin Requiem used religious texts but avoided the conventional liturgy and was sung with organ accompaniment and partly a capella.

It was a moving rendition expertly conducted (along with everything else) by Stephen Rumsey, the director of Ipswich Choral Society

The final anthem I Was Glad, by Parry, completed this first-rate entertainment.

Judith Newman

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