Our Concert on December 8th 2007 was reviewed in the Bucks Herald and the review is reproduced here:
Aylesbury Choral Society’s contribution to the festive season was a concert at St Mary’s Church on Saturday December 8th, comprising Christmas music and Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, famously neither petite, nor solemn, but instead a joyful work admirably sung by the choir.
Although often performed with an orchestra, various versions exist: it was originally scored for two pianos and a harmonium and on this occasion for one piano and a harmonium. This posed some logistical problems - for the first half I was sitting next to the piano and consequently heard little else, but a quick scuttle to the back of the church at half time revealed the intended balance of the forces employed.
Soloists Sally Harrison, Catherine Griffiths, Neil Griffiths and Gerard O'Connor were all excellent and well suited to the work, which was driven along in fine style by pianist Colin Spinks. The harmonium, played by Alastair Ross, underpinned the whole but really came into its own in a delightful interlude before the Sanctus. All was, as usual, brought together by the conducting of Peter Leech.
The choir was in the chancel (concerts are usually given from the West end), which worked very well and they really showed their mettle in the unaccompanied passages.
The Mass was divided by a Christmas trio: Berlioz’ charming Shepherds’ Farewell for the choir and two French carols for the audience to join in with: enthusiastic participation ensued!
Perplexingly, St Mary’s appeared to be under some kind of military guard, but our lads evidently were effective as no malefactors appeared to disrupt what was a most enjoyable concert.
Joss O’Kelly December 8 2007
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