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SWEET-TONED CHOIR SING WITH WARMTH

posted Dec 4, 2011, 7:26 AM by Alex Hawley
Christmas arrived early at Lichfield Cathedral this year. Not that there was anything particularly seasonal about this concert by the Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir under Martyn Rawles. It’s just that the choice of music was so life affirming, and sung with such serenity and warmth, that you left feeling positively aglow with goodwill.
 
The programme could almost have been dubbed “a short history of 18th century choral music” – beginning with the very different baroque styles of JS Bach (his Cantata No.196) and Handel (the Chandos Anthem “Let God Arise”), moving on through a delightful bit of youthful Mozart (Sancta Maria, K.273) to Schubert’s nearly-romantic Mass in G of 1815.
 
It worked wonderfully, helped by a bright-eyed accompaniment from the Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra and three excellent soloists. Soprano Ruth Jenkins brought a starry sparkle to her arias, while tenor Iain Milne and bass Johnny Herford provided acres of rich, burnished tone.
 
But the Chorus was the star of the show, finding both the drama in Handel’s anthem, and the deep inner calm in Bach’s writing. The ensemble singing was focussed, sweet-toned and beautifully balanced, and in the Schubert, in particular, the 30-strong choir responded alertly to Rawles’ affectionate and sensitive phrasing. Quite lovely.
 
Richard Bratby, Lichfield Mercury, November 2011

Review of concert, 'Let God arise!'
Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir & DECO
Lichfield Cathedral
Saturday 19 November 2011

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