Touch of raw passion propels choristers to another level
A PACKED Christ Church Centre saw the return of Henley Choral Society’s former musical director Will Dawes
A PACKED Christ Church Centre saw the return of Henley Choral Society’s former musical director Will Dawes to take part in an inspired collection of 20th century French choral repertoire directed by guest conductor Tom Edwards.
The latter brought with him a wide range of directing experience with choral groups and churches in Australia and the UK.
Where the organ was used, not only was it well played and kept at a well-judged volume, but its soft, nasal timbre was the ideal complement to the programme’s French theme.
Benjamin Goodson, HCS’s outgoing conductor, did much to improve the singers’ voice quality. Tom Edwards, during his temporary brief tenure, has pushed this on to another level, enhancing it with tight precision, clear diction, wide variations in volume and intensity and a touch of raw passion.
An ominous organ entry set the mood, followed by some positive, dynamic singing and Will Dawes’ first excellent solo.
The choir rose to a massive climax on the word “Hosanna” in the Sanctus, giving way to the Pie Jesu, confidently dispatched by Judy Brown.
The Libera Me, involving both Will Dawes and chorus, had it all: a magnificent opening, powerful solo baritone and a great deal of dramatic material representing the day of wrath. This eventually subsided as In Paradisum brought the work to a peaceful conclusion.
Henley Choral Society’s Christmas concerts will be held at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Saturday, December 10, in St Mary’s Church, Henley. For membership enquiries, call (01491) 576929.