'High musical quality': Our Sea Fever Concert reviewed

'High musical quality': Our Sea Fever Concert reviewed
Type of post: Choir news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Lynn Carter
Status: Current
Date Posted: Mon, 21 Mar 2022
With numbers diminished by COVID but enthusiasm undimmed, Collegium Singers distinguished themselves and rewarded the inspiration of their talented Director Elinor Cooper in their concert at North Curry Church - ‘The Cathedral of the Levels’ - on 19 March. The theme of water and the sea - in all its guises, and its effect on people’s lives - was the unifying factor of an imaginative, varied and consistently absorbing programme of choral pieces from the last 150 years. Folk song settings by Vaughan Williams, Holst and others enabled the choir to demonstrate precise tuning, crisp ensemble and mellifluous vocal blend and balance, as well as a wide and flexible dynamic range. Particularly impressive was a piece by Kerry Andrew in which tide and wind were unforgettably recreated in sound - although not notes! But perhaps the centrepiece of the concert was an extended work by Finnish composer Mantyjarvi about the wreck of MS Estonia in 1994, setting words from the Requiem, the Psalms and Radio Finland’s Latin (yes, Latin) news broadcast. The mixture of styles and textures had a strong emotional impact. Settings of spirituals, and a remarkable virtuoso miniature by Elgar encompassing calm and tempest in a few bars, added diversity. Various pieces required soloists from the ranks of the choir; while all were excellent, especial mention should be made of Catherine Bass and Matthew Jelf. All in all this was a challenging and rewarding concert of high musical quality. We look forward to their next concert, with a Royal theme, on 28 May in Taunton Minster.