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2012 Spring - Gloriana



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On a balmy Saturday evening, Beaminster Singers treated their audience to a night of music to suit all tastes.

Dido and Aeneas - Purcell’s story of regal romance doomed by an evil Sorceress’s intent- was a triumphant piece, to both listen to and watch. In listening to the description of the lovers’ hunting grounds Purcell might have been referring to the beauty of the West Dorset hills that surround us.  The verve shown by Adriana Festeu and the choir in the range of malevolent expressions as Sorceress witches and elves, brought the drama to life.

Britten’s Gloriana is an artistic and listening challenge. Queen Elizabeth II was not enamoured by it when first performed for her Coronation in 1953.  She would have warmed to this rendition of the Choral Dances. It was powerful and engaging even for those of us who find Britten an acquired taste.  Holst’s hymns from the Rig Veda were, unusually, for harp and female voices only.  A lyrical and joyful set.

The triumph of the night was a choral medley of British tunes, including a revised setting of the sea shanty ‘Shenandoah’, by the choir’s own Brian Earl – male voices only -  it was both haunting and uplifting.

Finally, the whole audience was to its feet singing ‘Jerusalem’. Who needs the Albert Hall? Hilary Kenway did it again! The evening was a perfect beginning to the summer months of 2012, full of celebration of English character and talent.  Bring on the Jubilee, Beaminster’s own Festival & the Olympics – Beaminster is now ready!

Ruth Warham