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Various Challenges

Music by Trevor Hold, Elgar, Parry,
Stanford, Delius and Vivaldi
from The Derwent Singers,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


Northampton-born composer Trevor Hold (1939-2004) never established as big a reputation as some of his contemporaries, but the more I hear of his music, the more impressed I am. Moments in Time is a sequence of Thomas Hardy settings for chorus and organ written for Northampton Bach Choir in 1979. The Derwent Singers took on its various challenges with evident relish (Broadway Baptist Church, Derby, UK, 31 March 2007), giving an impassioned performance of the opening number, 'Memory and I', and finding the sardonic humour in 'Inscriptions for a Peal of Eight Bells'.

The concert began with Elgar's anthem Give Unto the Lord, conductor Richard Roddis steering a steady course from the bold opening to the gentle close.

In the intervening group of part songs, Parry's 'There is an Old Belief', from his Songs of Farewell, and Stanford's Heraclitus received thoughtful, sensitive performances. The tricky chromatics of the first of Delius's two songs To be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water were expertly and atmospherically negotiated, so it was a pity that we were not given both.

After the interval, the choir produced some solid, vigorous, and nicely articulated singing in Vivaldi's well-known Gloria. The solo numbers were competently, and in some cases more than competently, taken by members of the choir. It was nobody's fault that the Broadway Baptist Church organ, in spite of Tom Corfield's expert coaxing, was not quite able to produce the necessary sparkle for the livelier movements.

Copyright © 9 April 2007 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK





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