THE Angmering Chorale, stoically undeterred by the disruption of the A27 roadworks at Crossbush, went ahead with its spring concert in Arundel Cathedral.
Joining the choir on this occasion were Laurie Ashworth (soprano), Marie Elliott (mezzo), Joseph Cornwell (tenor) and Samuel Evans (bass-baritone), with regular guests, The Sinfonia of Arun.
Bach’s St John Passion, first heard in 1724 in Leipzig, was a superb choice and ideally suited all of the performers.
The choir, orchestra, soloists and conductor, George Jones, captured both the drama and deep meaning of the passion story with aplomb. Poignant moments of silence at various stages added much to the atmosphere of the evening.
All of the soloists performed well and we heard from several of the chorale’s own singers, including an outstanding tenor, Mark Kendall, as Pilate. Cornwell (narrator/evangelist) related the story with true style, while Evans (Christ) displayed fine tonal quality and diction throughout the range.
Ashworth and Elliott were also on good form. Ashworth’s soprano aria, O heart, melt in weeping. . . conveyed the requisite passion with crystal purity.
The choir coped admirably with its repeated changes from baying mob to soulful reflective. In the former, the cathedral’s echo enhanced the inherent menace to great effect and, in the latter, all of the parts blended with great purity of sound and harmony.
In the final two choruses, we savoured choral singing of the highest quality from every part – an aural delight and so well controlled.
The Sinfonia of Arun, ably led as always by Robin Morrish, played with great sensitivity.
Whilst the aforementioned roadworks did cause problems for some, the resulting lack of external traffic noise seemed to enhance the building’s quietude.
Congratulations are due to all, especially maestro Jones, for giving us such a memorable evening. The lengthy audience ovation was richly deserved.
By Jim Hurdwell