Monday, 11 December 2017

East Devon Choral Society Handel's "Messiah" Tiverton Baptist Church Saturday 9 December 2017

East Devon Choral Society
Choir & Orchestra
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph
Leader: Fiona McLean Buechel

Orchestra & Choir
Leader: Fiona McLean Buechel

As Christmas approaches, Handel's "Messiah" is increasingly embraced as the traditional anthem of Advent. And who better to recreate Handel's baroque masterpiece than Andrew Daldorph's East Devon Choral Society. At the splendid venue of Tiverton Baptist Church this mighty choir put on a magnificent performance this Saturday evening.

Trumpets: Brian Moore, Matt Francis
Timpani: Steve Douglas
The instrumentation was impeccable as always. Fiona McLean Buechel, who is now based in Bournemouth and working increasingly in London, was nevertheless with us - and playing with her trademark gusto and precision. A joy to watch. Her orchestra were equally impressive. The softer solos were accompanied by the delicious trio of Fiona's violin, Hilary Boxer's 'cello, and Colin Pettet's chamber organ, while the rousing choruses exploited the full power of the orchestra - with the addition of Brian Moore and Matt Frances playing trumpets, and Steve Douglas playing timpani.

Soprano: Amy Daldorph
Alto: Verity Stroud
Sadly, Tim Mirfin was not able to bring his mellifluous bass tones to the performance on this occasion, because of a respiratory infection. His understudy, Exeter School's Head of Modern Languages Michael Latimer, was a most satisfactory replacement and his rich baritone quite a revelation. Amy Daldorph's soprano was sweet and uplifting, while Verity Stroud was sensational as alto soloist with her robust bass notes bringing a distinctly emotive flavour to the proceedings. Daniel Thomson's tenor recitatives and arias were soft and seductive, and his duet with Verity in Part III was a delight.

Bass: Michael Latimer
Tenor: Daniel Thomson
The Choir were excellent throughout. Andrew's preparation had been immaculate, and his precise attention to the many ornamentations in each part paid dividends on the night. The mood was just right at all times, and led the audience on that familiar journey through scripture, with its convolutions and contrasts, with the perfect amount of emotion and passion. The joy shone out in the faces of the choir members as they rejoiced in the story of resurrection to eternal life - in a world made perfect.

"The trumpet shall sound"
Brian Moore
Second Desk: Pippa Cotterill
Oboe: Andrew Marlies
The "Hallelujah" chorus is always the emotional high-point of any performance of the "Messiah", and the full choir brought an exceptional amount of power and excitement to the big moment. Andrew himself, and many in the audience were singing too, filling the nave with glorious sound. Even after that extravaganza of excitement, the choir were on perfect form for the corollary, "Since by man came death", and Brian Moore incredibly had more than enough breath left for a splendid performance of "The trumpet shall sound" with Michael Latimer.

"O death! Where is thy sting?"
Verity Stroud & Daniel Thomson
After Verity and Daniel's duet and Amy's air, "If God be for us", the choir had the last word with the moving final chorus, "Worthy is the Lamb".

"Worthy is the lamb"
Amy Daldorph, Verity Stroud,
Daniel Thomson, Michael Latimer
'Cello: Hilary Boxer
Ponderous and portentous, the words rang out with clarity and depth. with more clarion augmentation from the trumpets and timpani the whole work was brought to a rousing conclusion, sliding finally into the prolonged and mournful "Amen" drawing out the uplifting experience for just a little longer.

Four magnificent soloists
Soprano: Amy Daldorph  Alto: Verity Stroud
Tenor: Daniel Thomson  Bass: Michael Latimer
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph

To Handel, Andrew Daldorph, and his exceptional choir and orchestra, heartfelt thanks for a sensational and memorable evening of baroque magic. A first class performance!

Violins: Pippa Cotterill, Fiona McLean Buechel
Sopranos: Lisa Hellier, Sally Daldorph, Imogen Daldorph
Tenor: George Daldorph

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