Most impressive show

ON NOVEMBER 13, St Saviour’s Church enjoyed a nicely-balanced concert by Hailsham Choral Society and an orchestra led by Lisa Wigmore.

Every note was by Mozart, but the choice of music was so skilled that variety was the keynote.

The first half opened with the composer’s Holy Mary, Mother of God, written when Mozart was twenty-one.

It is short, and Roman in inspiration: the choir and strings met every musical demand.

For Eine Kleine Nachtmusik which followed, conductor Jozik Kotz (who has wisely decided to spell his name so that we can pronounce it !) adopted a no-nonsense tempo.

This four-movement serenade for strings (probably Mozart’s best-known work) may have lacked the ultimate precision in the Rondo, but otherwise seemed irresistible.

In the E Flat Wind Serenade which followed, eight performers found just the right sound in all five movements – most impressive. Ave Verum Corpus, completed by Mozart shortly before his death at 35, is a sublime work, and it received a performance to match its sublimity.

Every section of the choir responded to the conductor’s demands, never over-singing, and ever-aware of the need to balance each part with the others. It was no surprise, therefore, that the one work in the second half received a superb performance.

The Great C Minor Mass all but vanished for over a hundred years, being rediscovered at the very start of the twentieth century.

It is astonishingly original, despite the need to conform to the requirements of the Latin Mass.

Jozik had assembled an impressive line-up of soloists; and the choir was at it very best.

The orchestra too was on top form, with (for example) some fine work from flute and bassoon for Et incarnatus est.

Rebecca Rudge’s creamy soprano soared effortlessly into the furthest corners of the beautiful church; and Anna Dennis’s easy coloratura was impressive not only in her solo Laudamus Te, but also when singing in duet and trio.

Tenor Tom Raskin brought operatic experience to his fine singing, without ever forgetting that this is a spiritual work.

Bass Mike Barber was indisposed, but the conductor (himself a baritone of exceptional quality) sang the short bass part perfectly from the podium.

The free programme notes were thorough, fluent and helpful: just one more facet of the sort of evening that makes a reviewer enjoy his work.

Robin Gregory.