Monday, 2 December 2019

East Devon Choral Society 'Mozart Requiem' St Paul's Church Tiverton Saturday 23 November 2019

EAST DEVON CHORAL SOCIETY
Orchestral Leader: Fiona McLean-Buechel
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph


'Cello: Hilary Boxer
Double Bass: Graham Tuck
Sue North's most recent assignment as Vice-Chair of the East Devon Choral Society was a glorious night of music by Mozart, with a smattering of Bach thrown in.

Chairman Martyn Green made an impromptu appearance on the conductor's rostrum, standing in for the incumbent Rev Andy Humm, and introduced the evening's entertainment. Sadly he had to announce that Nicholas Yates was not able to sing the Tenor solos. Happily, the very capable Matthew Jeffrey was available to take over.

Matthew is a Physics student at Exeter University, sings in the Exeter Cathedral Choir, and is the Musical Director of the Exeter University Singers. Needless to say, his contribution throughout the evening was of the highest standard.

Also in the solo line-up were soprano Rebecca Yates, mezzo soprano Louise Mott, and bass Tim Mirfin.


First Violin:                
The music started with the choir singing Mozart's delightful and moving 'Ave Verum Corpus' (Hail True Body). The sound was impressive, and all credit must go to Andrew and the choir for their meticulous preparation. The mighty orchestra which accompanied them is only available for rehearsal on the day. It is amazing what the singers accomplish with just Andrew, conducting, guiding, and providing piano accompaniment all at the same time.

The orchestra, led by Fiona McLean-Buechel was as superb as ever. Fiona was in Exeter for many years running musical classes under the banner of 'Joined Up Thinking Music Devon'. Now she is based in Bournemouth, but still leads the orchestra regularly for Andrew. Throughout the entire programme, Fiona's fiery energy, spectacular precision, and interpretive flair, infused every piece with excitement and energy.


Soprano Rebecca Yates
The first half ended with Mozart's 'Laudate Dominum' (Praise Ye the Lord, O Ye Servants), with Rebecca Yates singing the soprano solo. A perfect close to beautiful selection of music.


Mezzo: Louise Mott
Also in the first half Louise Mott regaled us with Cherubino's aria from 'Cose fan Tutte': 'Voi che Sapete che Cose e Amor' (You Ladies who Know what Love is). After the solomn Ave Verum, Louise's playfulness as Cherubino came as a refreshing diversion. The orchestra support was subtle, involving no brass, and with all the string players playing soft pizzicato - the violinist and violists holding their instruments like classical guitars.


Tenor: Matthew Jeffrey
Rebecca Yates had been planning to perform the duet 'Domine Deus' from Bach's Mass in B minor with husband Nicholas Yates. With Nicholas unable to join us, Matthew Jeffrey stepped into the breach with supreme confidence. With sensational flute accompaniment by Tina Guthrie, they sang together as if they had been rehearsing for months.


Bass: Tim Mirfin
Finally, Tim Mirfin's solo performance was something else entirely! In Leporello's aria from Mozart's 'Don Giovanni' he sings to Elvira about the many thousands of woman who have been seduced by his master the Don: "Madamina, il catalogo è questo delle belle che amò il padron mio" (Dear Lady, this is the list of the beautiful women whom my master has loved). Tim brought a mighty tome, to which he referred for details.

In his introduction, Tim was a little hazy about the exact number of hundreds (or thousands) in each country, but once he was singing in Italian he was word perfect. Also, to add to the outrageousness of Leporello's revelations, Tim drew out from between the pages items of lingerie varying in size to illustrate the catholic tastes of his master. A magnificent example of opera buffa, and a very stark contrast to the sacred mass that was to follow in the second half.


Musical Director: Andew Daldorph
After the interval, the choir and orchestra regrouped for the big event of the evening, Mozart's Requiem in D minor. For a full hour the audience were bathed in the sublime music and emotions of Mozart's very last major work. The soloists formed a quartet and performed in harmony with the great voice of the choir. The instruments of the orchestra had many opportunities to shine, to which they rose admirably. Especially note-worthy was the resounding trombone solo by Glyn Bowen in the Tuba Mirum. The two other trombonists, Jeremy Loysen and Rick Wall, and the trumpeters Phil Makin and Brian Moore, provided a surfeit of rousing fanfares.

The choir were in fine voice and brought enormous vigour and passion to the music. Andrew drew out every last ounce of expression from the choir and orchestra, and each part of the mass was equally exciting and moving. There was a brief break in the music after the closing words of the Hostias: "Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam, quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus" (O Lord, let them pass from death to life, as you promised Abraham and his decendants).


Orchestra Leader:
Fiona McLean-Buechel
The orchestra members carefully re-tuned their instruments and the choir took a collective breath before delivering the climactic words of the mass: "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth!" (Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of the Heavenly Host!). After the exultant "Hosanna in Excelsis" (Praise in the Highest), the gentle "Agnus Dei" (Lamb of God) entreated He, who takes away the world's sins, to have mercy - and to let eternal light shine on all departed souls.

This was another triumphant outing for the East Devon Choral Society, and an extremely impressive display of vocal skill and style for the audience. Thank you to Sue North, Martyn Green, Fiona McLean-Buechel (and Peter McLean-Buechel who also come over from Bournemouth, to sing tenor) and, of course, to the choir's Musical Director Andrew Daldorph. Everything was perfectly prepared - not just the music, but also the warm welcome at the door from Vic North in tie and tails, the helpful ushers, right down to the efficient provision of wine and soft drinks in the interval

Many thanks, and well done everyone!

Next year the East Devon Choral Society return to Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 9 May to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, with "The Armed Man" by Karl Jenkins and another chance to hear Andrew Daldorph's own composition "Songs of Hope and Creation", first performed in the Cathedral in 2009. Ticket information will appear here soon, and further information can be obtained from Sue North on 01884 253494.

Don't forget, Andrew's Exeter Chamber Choir will be in concert three times before Christmas - at Buckfast Abbey, The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Alphington, and The Great Barn, Higher Ashton.
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Exeter Chamber Choir
Buckfast Abbey
Saturday 7 December 7.30pm
A CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph
Heinrich Schütz: "Magnificat"
(Meine Seele erhebt den Herren)
Heinrich von Herzogenberg: Motets
Traditional Carols - for all
Tickets: £10
Online BookingAbbey Website
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Exeter Chamber Choir
Conductor: Andrew Daldorph
Exeter Chamber Choir
St Michael's Alphington
Saturday 14 December 7.30pm
A CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph
Heinrich Schütz: "Magnificat"
(Meine Seele erhebt den Herren)
Heinrich von Herzogenberg: Motets
Traditional Carols - for all
Tickets: £10
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Exeter Chamber Choir
Exeter Chamber Choir
Great Barn Higher Ashton
Wednesday 18 December 7.30pm
CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERT
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph
A candlelit carol service with
readings by Maynard students
Tickets: £12 (child £6 family £30)
Online BookingTicketTailor
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East Devon Choral Society
East Devon Choral Society
 Conductor: Andrew Daldorph
Exeter Cathedral
Saturday 9 May 7.30pm
VE DAY 75TH ANNIVERSARY
A Shared Moment of Celebration
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph
Orchestra Leader: Fiona McLean-Buechel
Karl Jenkins:
"The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace"
Andrew Daldorph:
"Songs of Hope and Creation"
Tickets: TBC
Information: 01884 253494

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