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© The East Bridge Chorale

Reviews

Brahms’ A German Requiem

East Bridge Chorale directed by Benedict Preece.
Sunday March 19th-St Mary’s Arts Centre, Sandwich

Brahms himself referred to his a requiem as a ‘Human Requiem’ and it is a challenging sing for any choir. This performance, by East Bridge Chorale, was of a fine standard from the outset with a wonderfully hushed opening chorus. Rob Dennis sang the bass solos in the third and sixth movements with great sensitivity and a fine timbre. The famous chorus Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen flowed gently, with precision and good articulation.

Soprano soloist Catherine Futcher gave a wonderfully evocative performance in Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit, perfectly conveying the emotion and feeling of the text.

The chorus sang the sixth movement with great energy building to an exciting climax, before the concluding movement which was performed with gentle compassion to its peaceful close.

The singers were brilliantly supported by the East Bridge Concert Orchestra led by Jane Browne.

East Bridge Chorale was founded seven years ago by Benedict Preece, and this performance shows the incredible progress they have made under his direction.

Denyer Kittle

East Bridge Chorale Shine in Ash

As a regular attendee of chorale concerts, it was a delight for me to witness the uplifting performance of Easter Music by East Bridge Chorale on Saturday 14th April at St Nicholas Church, Ash.

The concert was directed by the young and impressively talented Benedict Preece with the programme starting with three pieces from Franz Joseph Haydn:  Insanae et Vanae Curae, Te Deum in C (No. 2) and Missa Brevis in F. At first the sound appeared captured in the area of the church where the choir stood, but as the intensity increased the church was filled with joy. The quality of the solo parts in Insanae et Vanae Curae (Katherine Walker, Adam Southey, Bob McKay and Michael Cooke) and Missa Brevis in F was remarkable from this mainly ‘turn up and sing’ choir. I heard one member of the audience describe the solos in Missa Brevis as being like ‘angels descending from heaven’ (Kate Brazier and Catherine St Ville). The works were directed by Preece with masterful leadership, the choir reacting exactly as instructed.

After a short interval Johann Nepomuk Hummel was on the agenda with his Mass in B flat. This is not a piece of work that I know. In parts it sounded difficult to sing, but the choir coped well with the quick changing tempo and the fugue section was particularly impressive.   The choir was expertly backed by organist Matthew Raisbeck, who played without overwhelming the singers, yet the church resounded to the rich music of the Haydn and Hummel. 

The evening, topped off with refreshments, was a very enjoyable one. The performance was bracing at peak, with the acoustics of the performance space able to cope, as did the choir, with this, and equally with the quieter parts, where the quality of diction was not lost in the space.

The next performance by East Bridge Chorale is 1st  September 2012 where they will be performing Puccini’s  Messa di Gloria and Bizet’s Te Deum, with orchestra, and is one that I would highly recommend.

Garry Stamp
Ashford, Kent