REVIEW: Ely Choral Society’s concert at Ely Cathedral is ‘phenomenal and superb’

Daniel Joy (tenor) Chloe Latchmore (mezzo soprano) Andrew Parnell (conductor) Elisabeth Rauch (sopra

Daniel Joy (tenor) Chloe Latchmore (mezzo soprano) Andrew Parnell (conductor) Elisabeth Rauch (soprano) and William Gaunt (bass) - Credit: Archant

Ely Choral Society, Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra and soloists under the baton of Andrew Parnell presented music of a very high standard in Ely Cathedral on Saturday.

These admirable soloists included soprano Elisabeth Rauch, mezzo soprano Chloe Latchmore, tenor Daniel Joy and bass William Gaunt.

Our own assistant organist, Edmund Aldhouse, provided assured accompaniment on the organ in this fine orchestra.

The pieces performed were Schubert’s ‘Mass no 3 in B flat Op. post. 14’ and ‘Stabat Mater’ by Rossini. These two works provided excellent balance to the programme, the composers’ styles being so different but effective in their own way.

The Schubert contained many moments of reverence, joy, sadness and warmth. His lyrical beauty was very much in evidence.

The choir, orchestra and soloists were splendid, bringing out the most expressive parts really effectively and under the conductor’s clear signals were able to work together extremely well to produce the type of sound that left us wanting more after the last notes of the ‘Dona nobis pacem’ faded away into the magnificent building of Ely Cathedral.

Rossini, known for his operatic approach to all things, contrasted the very pleasant tuneful style of Schubert, with something more varied, and more contrasted.

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Although we may be used to more sedate constraints in church music, the sweeping gestures of the arias and the sudden dramatic changes of volume in this work were well placed – for how else to express emotional trauma at its highest?

What the composer achieved here was to use his musical know-how to incorporate traditional elements, such as the beautifully sung unaccompanied sections, with his expertise in expressing reflective emotion in the arias.

There is no doubt that the phenomenal ability of the musicians and the superb conducting by Andrew Parnell made this concert one of their best. More of this please!

Their next event will be ‘Carmina Burana’ on Saturday July 9 from 7.30pm at the Hayward Theatre.

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