REVIEW: Ely Choral Society gives ‘splendid’ performance of Bach’s St. John Passion at Ely Cathedral
PUBLISHED: 09:54 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:54 26 March 2018
Ely Choral Society, the Chameleon Arts Baroque Orchestra, soloists and organist gave a splendid performance of Bach’s St. John’s Passion in Ely Cathedral on Saturday.
Under the baton of director Andrew Parnell, the choir flourished, often giving an emotive, responsive and well-disciplined comment on events.
Under his direction this work was given new life, and with Rogers Covey-Crump as the Evangelist, the die was cast: this was going to be a marvellous performance and indeed it was.
Rogers Covey-Crump, the nephew of a one-time housemaster of the Canonry at King’s Ely, proved to be a musician of the highest quality.
With his wealth of musical background and experience, he held the narrator part magnificently, telling the story clearly, expressively and highly effectively, drawing us inextricably into events.
The other soloists were also impressive and included Henry Hawkesworth (representing Jesus), Camilla Harris (soprano), Helen Chariston (alto), Hiroshi Amako (tenor) and Julian Chou-Lambert (bass) along with Angelica Hunt (representing the Maid), Nicholas Ward (Peter), Charles Schneider (officer) and David Gascoigne (servant).
Highlights, besides the narrator, included the chorales, Jesus and Camilla Harris’ Air ‘O Heart, melt in weeping’.
The chorales were nothing like to slow laboured people’s hymns in other performances.
Here each chorale was varied in speed and expression, giving them character and meaning; they became an integral part of proceedings.
In one single phrase, Henry Hawkesworth proved his talent. When he sang ‘It is finished’, he infused the phrase with an unmistakably potent tone and his sense of timing and pace captured the sentiments expressed strongly.
Camilla Harris had a delightful voice and showed phenomenal sensitivity and sympathy when she sang ‘O Heart, melt in weeping’.
Indeed the main soloists were all outstanding the latter being only two examples of their combined worth.
With diverse authentic sounds coming from the orchestra, the instrumentalists enhanced the performance particularly well, giving the whole work credence.
Edmund Aldhouse, renowned Assistant Organist at Ely Cathedral, as always, accompanied superbly on the organ when required.
The next event featuring Ely Choral Society is on Saturday July 7 at 7.30pm in the Hayward Theatre, King’s School, Ely.
Visit www.elychoralsociety.org for more information.