Music for Celebrations, Kendal Parish Church

MUSIC for Celebrations was the theme of Kendal Choral Society’s summer concert. The programme opened with Purcell’s Come Ye Sons of Art. The chamber orchestra set the scene with a delightful mini symphony, displaying players virtuosity as the music ranged through various combinations of voices and instruments. Of particular note was the combination of alto voice and recorders in Strike the Viol (Anastasia Micklethwaite, Philip Gruar and Nigel Atkinson) and the excellent trumpet playing of Stella and Peter Crompton.

We next heard the first suite from Handel’s Water Music with some very polished performances from all the musicians, ably led by Pam Redman with Ian Pattinson (continuo), well supported by Cathy Lear (double bass) and Peter Freyhan (cello) . This suite sparkled.

The main work of the evening was the Coronation Mass by Mozart. The work begins explosively and then ranges through every emotion as it moves through the familiar stages of the mass. The choir rose to the challenge and showed confidence in their director, Duncan Lloyd, sustaining some fine tone in the quieter passages. The balance between the sections of the choir was always good and the combination of choir and soloists was uplifting. The Agnus Dei was particularly beautiful, with the sensitive and soaring voice of soprano Emily Robinson contrasted by the pizzicato lower strings. The oboe, played by Beatrix Hubble, added a beautiful melodic line. Emily with other soloists, Anastasia Micklethwaite (alto), Philip O’Connor (tenor) and Stuart Orme (baritone) complemented each other perfectly and displayed their talents in solo, duet and quartet. After the exuberance and joyfulness displayed throughout the work, the ending is quiet and reflective. What a sound to conclude a really satisfying and uplifting concert! This is a difficult piece to perform well and the audience was not disappointed.