Friday, 29 April 2016

Clyst Valley Choral Society Vivaldi Gloria & Jazz Classics Saint Margaret's Church Topsham Saturday 16 April & Holy Trinity Church Exmouth Sunday 17 April 2016

Soprano: Myriam Prual     Mezzo Soprano: Carolyn Harries
Soprano: Janet Macdonald    Tenor: Jason Bomford

Paul Stock
Conductor & Accompanist
On Saturday and Sunday (16 & 17 April), audiences enjoyed an extraordinary juxtaposition of musical styles. At St Margaret's Church in Topsham, and Holy Trinity Church in Exmouth, Paul Stock led the Clyst Valley Choral Society in a concert of twentieth century jazz classics arranged for choir and orchestra and/or piano, followed by beautiful baroque music - culminating in the unforgettable "Gloria" by Antonio Vivaldi.

Janet Macdonald
During the first half, the choir and orchestra set the scene with five popular classics - "Ain't Misbehaving", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "Over the Rainbow", "Summertime" and "You Raise Me Up" - interspersed with timeless solo numbers for voices and instruments.

Soprano Janet Macdonald introduced and sang a very engaging musical number, "It Never Was You" accompanied by Paul Stock on piano. The choir's recent acquisition, tenor Jason Bomford, responded with "I've Got You Under My Skin", and mezzo soprano Carolyn Harries completed the triptych with Peggy Lee's 1957 classic "The Folks Who Live on the Hill".

Clyst Valley Choral Society
& Orchestra
Following the delightful Judy Garland number "Over the Rainbow", during which the last rays of the setting sun shone through the clerestory and created a very timely rainbow of yellow and green, Jason Bomford sang a beautiful vocal version of Ennio Morricone's "Gabriel's Oboe" with words ("Nella Fantasia" - In My Dreams) added by Chiara Ferraù. Janet Macdonald then sang Gershwin's "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess" with full orchestra, piano, and the choir providing basso continuo.

Matthew Jackson & Philip Bonser
Oboe/Cor Anglais & Clarinet
That was the perfect cue for two virtuoso woodwind solos by clarinettist Phil Bonser and oboist Matthew Jackson. Phil delighted us all again with "I Got Rhythm", and Matthew, experimenting with a new instrument, amazed us all with a version of "Someone to Watch Over Me" - on cor anglais!

"Follow that!" challenged Jason Bomford, and the choir and orchestra, with Paul Stock playing piano, took things to a new level singing a gently lilting and uplifting version of "You Raise Me Up" with Jason singing the solo.

Carolyn Harries
Mezzo Soprano
After a refreshing cup of tea in the church mezzanine, Janet Macdonald and Carolyn Harries introduced the baroque theme with a very familiar sounding Handel duet. (Handel was well known for re-using his own tunes.) "Quel Fior Che AllAlba Ride" (The Bloom which Laughs at Dawn) opened with a theme from Handel's "Messiah" composed in the same year, and gently segued into other familiar themes from the Messiah and other works by Handel.

Orchestra Leader Sally Bull, and 'Cellist Sue Stock, delighted us with another baroque duet, this time by Antonio Vivaldi - his Sonata in G minor. How lovely it was to hear these two musicians playing in stark relief in the majestic environs of Holy Trinity.

Paul Stock
conducts Clyst Valley Choral Society
Vivaldi's music was, of course, the main component of the evening's performance. With Sally and Sue rejoining the main orchestra, the choir sang the magnificent "Gloria". Those opening chords (with violinist Chris Gould switching to trumpet), and inspirational words, transported us magically to the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice and the musical wonders of the eighteenth century.

Sadly Mark Perry was unable to play the organ on both nights, and so conceded the task to the very capable hands of second violinist, and Head of Music at the Maynard School, Angela Blackwell, whose contribution added yet another layer of baroque grandeur.

Janet Macdonald & Myriam Prual
Soprano Duet
Interspersed in an hour of glorious harmony were more opportunities to hear the delightful voices of the soloists. Soprano Myriam Prual, who had sung only with the choir in the first half, joined Janet Macdonald in delightful duet for the "Laudamus Te" (We Praise You) introduced and punctuated by the wonderful oboe playing of Matthew Jackson.

Posies all round
Carolyn Harries, Janet Macdonald
& Myriam Prual
Janet also sang the "Domine Deus, Rex Coelestis" (O Lord God, Heavenly King), and Carolyn Harries sang the "Agnus Dei" (Lamb of God) and "Qui Sedes ad Dexteram Patris" (Who Sits at The Father's Right Hand).

The overall effect was mesmerising and moving in equal measure. The orchestra played splendidly, and the choir were in fine expressive voice. Paul Stock's interpretation was masterful and an absolute pleasure to the ear from start to finish. Janet Macdonald, Myriam Prual and Carolyn Harries completed the production in masterful style.

Sally Bull
Orchestra Leader
Mandy Fishleigh
We were very lucky indeed to hear Carolyn Harries' operatic contralto voice one last time, before she returns once again to Opera Holland Park for Pietro Mascagni's "Iris" (which opens on Tuesday 7 June). Meanwhile our magnificent oboe and cor anglais player, Matthew Jackson, returns to his A Level studies, and hopes to begin his undergraduate music studies at Oxford this autumn.

and a bottle of "bulles" for . . .
For two nights only it was possible to hear these wonderful musicians in an evening of baroque beauty, tempered by the more worldly pleasure of contemporary jazz. A brilliant idea, brilliantly managed and successfully staged by Clyst Valley Choral Society Musical Director, Paul Stock.

Paul Stock
Musical Director


Choir -

"Ain't Misbehavin" 1929: Music - Thomas (Fats) Waller & Harry Brooks Words - Andy Razaf
(Arranged by Peter Gritton)

Soprano Solo (Janet Macdonald) -

"It Never Was You" (Knickerbocker Holiday) 1938: Music - Kurt Weill Words - Maxwell Anderson

Tenor Solo (Jason Bomford) -

"I've Got You Under My Skin" 1936: Cole Porter

Choir -

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" (Roberta) 1933: Music - Jerome Kern Words - Otto Harbach
(Arranged by David Blackwell)

Mezzo Soprano Solo (Carolyn Harries) -

"The Folks Who Live on the Hill" 1937: Music - Jerome Kern Words - Oscar Hammerstein II
(Peggy Lee - The Man I Love 1957)

Choir -

"Over The Rainbow" (The Wizard of Oz) 1939: Music - Harold Arlen Words - Edgar Yip Harburg
(Arranged by Guy Walker)

Tenor Solo (Jason Bomford) -

"Nella Fantasia" (In My Fantasy) 1998 (based on "Gabriel's Oboe" (The Mission) 1986)
Music - Ennio Morricone Words - Chiara Ferraù

Choir -

"Summertime" (Porgy & Bess) 1935: Music - George Gershwin Words - DuBose Heyward
(Arranged by Roderick Williams)

Clarinet Solo (Philip Bonser) -

"I Got Rhythm" 1930: George Gershwin (words - Ira Gershwin)

Cor Anglais Solo (Matthew Jackson) -

"Someone to Watch over Me" (Oh, Kay!) 1926: George Gershwin (words - Ira Gershwin)

Choir -

"You Raise Me Up" (Secret Garden) 2002: Music - Rolf Løvland Words - Brendan Graham

Soprano & Mezzo Soprano Duet (Janet Macdonald & Carolyn Harries) -

"Quel Fior Che AllAlba Ride" (The Flower That Laughs at Daybreak) 1741:
George Frideric Handel HWV 192 (compare "His Yoke is Easy" Messiah 1741 HWV 56)

Violin & 'Cello Duet (Sally Bull & Sue Stock) -
Largo & Allegro (Violin Sonata in G minor) 1709: Antonio Vivaldi

Choir, Orchestra, Soloists & Organ

"Gloria" 1715:  Antonio Vivaldi

Philip Bonser

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