Review Ely Consort’s ‘Music for a Royal Celebration’ 3oth June 2012 The Parish Church, Chatteris

Ely Consort and Director Matthew Rudd certainly know how to put on a splendid concert and ‘Music for a Royal Celebration’ was no exception. In conjunction with an excellent chamber orchestra, the Con Brio orchestra, and some fine soloists, Catriona Clark (soprano), Ashley Harris (alto), Sam Dressel (tenor) and Dominick Sedgwick (bass), these fine musicians brought well-known celebratory works to life. 

The perhaps less well known mass:  ‘Theresienmesse’  by Haydn opened the evening and it’s positive almost cheerful qualities made it a very fitting opening for such an upbeat event. There were many moments of special warmth and bright and lively tapestries of sound well contrasted well with some more serious notes of darkness or affirmative conviction. The soloists were particularly charismatic and well matched.

One item that was a must for an event like this was ‘I was Glad’ by Parry. We have heard this piece a number of times already this season, and this performance was one of the best. The power these performers emanated filled Chatteris Parish Church magnificently.

Light relief was offered by a charming performance of Handel’s ‘Air from The Water Music Suite’ by the Con Brio string players. Then the choir and full orchestra gave a full-blooded performance of ‘Zadok the Priest’ by Handel – the opening particularly potent and strong. 

Another ‘must-have’ for this type of concert was Handel’s ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ and the Con Brio orchestra did it proud. More very appropriate choral works followed: ‘Coronation Gloria’ by Sir Charles Stanford. ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ by Parry and the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ by Handel.

Catriona Clark was particularly impressive in the ‘Coronation Gloria’ while in ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ there were particularly impressive moments of precision and times when this choir obviously revelled in the its glorious sounds.

A musical performance of the ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus was indeed an excellent way to end this most enjoyable evening and was a fitting example to demonstrate that this choir is no ‘ordinary’ choir – it is by far one of the best in the area. I look forward to their performance in Ely Cathedral Lady Chapel on Saturday 1st December.

The concert was presented by Chatteris Music Society and their next concert will feature an outstanding 11-year old pianist, George Harliono, who will play works by Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Chopin and Debussy on Saturday 1st September at 3 pm in Chatteris Parish Church. Contact: 01354 669104/692009

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