The Georgians certainly knew how to celebrate and Bexhill Choral Society brought us two works which, in their very different ways, demonstrated their enthusiasm - writes Dr Brian Hick of Lark Reviews in his review of the concert at St Augustine’s church on October 3.
Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum was written to celebrate the British victory over the French in 1743.
If a lot of it seems familiar it is clear that Handel is reworking musical ideas from earlier oratorios, but this does not make it any the less enjoyable.
Most noteworthy from the small orchestra was the splendid trumpet playing of Andy Gill and Marcus Plant, their bright tones shining out above the massed choral sound. There is not a lot for the soloists to do in the Te Deum though the trio impressed and the final chorus was strengthened by having all the singers involved. Tenor Roger Elias brought some pleasing ornamentation to When thou tookest upon thee.
If the choir had seemed a little hesitant at times during the Handel they were more confident in Haydn’s Nelson Mass.
The composer makes considerable demands of the soloists, particularly the high-lying part for soprano which Caroline Charnock scaled with ease. Judith Buckle seemed to find Haydn’s musical line sit more comfortably for her voice than the Handel, and she shone in the Gloria. Peter Grevatt’s bass is always reliable and here he was mellifluous throughout.
There seemed to be rather fewer men than usual in the choir and the balance suffered somewhat, particularly during the Handel.
The overall sound, and confidence, improved during the Haydn and the final chorus Dona nobis pacem brought the evening to a fine close.
Kenneth Roberts paced the scores with tact, not rushing his singers but keeping the music flowing with a sense of direction and shape.
Robert Aldwinckle’s playing was frequently audible in moments of gentle apparent improvisation or ornament.
Audiences for Bexhill Choral Society are normally very good but on this occasion there seemed to be more empty pews than usual. A pity – but perhaps there will be a full house for their Carol concert at St Augustine’s on Saturday December 5.
BCS is a friendly non-auditioning group which currently has 50 members - for more information go to www.bexhillchoral.org.uk.