CONCERT REVIEW: Voices count on night of Vivaldi's, and Morse’s, Gloria
A breath of fresh air blew inside Spalding’s St John the Baptist Church as South Holland Singers started their 71st season under a new musical director.
Geoff Ellerby inherited the conductor’s baton waved for nearly 20 years by his predecessor, Robin Carter, with clear intent as the choir opened its new era with works by Handel and Mozart.
With a royal wedding to come after last Saturday’s concert, it was fitting for South Holland Singers to start their performance with two of Handel’s Coronation Anthems, “Zadok the Priest” and “The King Shall Rejoice”.
Then came three movements from Mozart’s Mass in C major, his choral work “Ave Verum Corpus” (Hail, true body), the same work by 16th and 17th century English choral music composer William Byrd and “If Ye Love Me” from another 16th century English choral composer, Thomas Tallis.
After a 20-minute interval, it was time for the choir to revisit a piece of TV drama history with the opening movement of Vivaldi’s masterpiece written in 1715.
The opening chorus of “Gloria” will forever be associated with the arrival on our TV screens of Inspector Morse in January 1987 when the late John Thaw arrives at a motor repair garage in the character’s burgundy Jaguar Mk II.
In all, South Holland Singers performed all 12 movements of a piece described by Classic FM as “one of sacred music’s most uplifting choral works, a piece of high drama and hidden performers”.
The big surprise of the night was Robin Carter’s presence among the tenors, even singing a small solo during the Gloria recital.
It was as if Geoff Ellerby was using South Holland Singers’ annual spring concert to make a statement about the way things will be under his direction, perhaps best summed up by Boston-born but now USA-based singer Georgina Callaghan who said: “The voice has to be the main thing”.
Review by Winston Brown