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2011 Spring - Serenade to Music



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What a programme! Could it be more challenging? But then, challenging programmes are what the inspirational Music Director, Hilary Kenway does best and in her incredibly masterful hands, the audience was treated to an evening of breathtaking professionalism.

First came Vaughan Williams`s idyll “Serenade to music”, a musical setting of passages from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”, yet still so evocative of the English countryside.

Originally composed as a tribute to Sir Henry Wood on his golden jubilee as a conductor, this at first, featured sixteen solo voices and orchestra. At its first performance the soloists were selected from the finest singers of the day. The Beaminster singers, soloists Abbi Temple (soprano), Kate Warshaw (mezzo), Martin Hindmarsh (tenor), and Stephen Wells (bass), with the strings of the professional orchestra shimmering in the background, followed close in those amazing footsteps, giving a performance of which Sir Henry would have been justly proud.

Then came a change of mood and the faster rhythms of Elgar’s holiday reminiscences “From the Bavarian Highlands”. With words composed by his wife Alice, Elgar originally composed six dances. Here there were four, all with delicious harmonies and some with the typical Elgar wistfulness, one of the dances ending with a fascinating pizzicato.

After the interval came Beethoven’s torrential “Mass in C” which had been commissioned by his patron, Prince Esterhazy. This is an incredible work, full of grace and intricacy. It is a tapestry of sound in which the soloists, the magnificent full orchestra led by Louise Bevan, the choir, the organist, Antony Saunders, the violins, brass and woodwinds all combined to weave a pattern of the utmost beauty.

Why was there not a standing ovation for this terrific concert?

Margaret Haywood