The Choir had set a very high standard with its May Great Hall concert, under the title Romantik Meets Klassik, but on Sunday 14 August came very close to equalling it with an excellent performance of Handel’s Saul.
The primary credit for the excellent result must go Handel and his librettist, Charles Jennens, who had fashioned a moving and dramatic work out of the Old Testament material.
Christopher Bowen once again worked wonders, painstakingly ensuring that the whole immensely long score was realized at the highest possible level (and despite the pressure he was under, generally retaining his good humour and even praising the Choir on a couple of occasions during the orchestral rehearsal).
As well, the performance was distinguished by splendid soloists, some of them of front-line national standing – Tobias Cole (counter-tenor) and Paul Goodwin-Groen (bass), as David and Saul respectively – and other very promising young singers (we had two winners of the Joan Carden Award in the team: Simon Gilkes (tenor) and Emma Moore (soprano), from 2009 and 2011 respectively). It was also a pleasure to work with Amy Corkery (soprano), once again.
It goes without saying that our faithful orchestra played to the high standard that, with Christopher Bowen’s nurturing, it has firmly established.
The icing on the cake was that the performance was given in front of a packed Great Hall audience, whose enthusiasm was not in the least dampened by listening for over two hours.
This was a concert, which like its predecessor in May, elicited an enthusiastic response from the audience and could only have strengthened the Choir’s standing with its supporters.