Can there be anything more assured of enveloping one’s whole being with a sense of peace and contentment than spending an evening listening to three glorious pieces of choral music?
On Saturday 9th May at St Cuthbert’s Church Wells, Somerset Singers, together with soloists Mary Walker (soprano), Jack Wilde (tenor) and Robert Clark (bass baritone) accompanied by the Lochrian Ensemble gave another of their outstanding performances.
The first work, Schubert’s Mass in G, set the standard for the evening with a Kyrie of superb, lyrical harmony with orchestra and choir in perfect balance. Parts of the Credo were movingly dramatic whereas the Sanctus gave us a believable choir of angels and in the Benedictus the soloists and choir sweetly complemented each other.
The second choral work was Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine, a familiar piece one suspects to most of the audience and sung with superb dynamics and dramatic assurance.
Following the interval, organist Kris Thomsett played a work by Rheinberger, Tempo Moderato which rang out in St Cuthbert’s Church with its beautifully decorated high ceiling.
The last work in this concert of sublime pieces was Fauré’s Requiem. At times the music seemed to bubble over with love as heart-felt prayers and sincere simplicity contrasted with the quite terrifying brass in the Libera Me. But all was resolved with the last movement In Paradisum, ‘May angels lead you into paradise’ and with this beautifully controlled finale Somerset Singers assured us this would be so.
SOMERSET SINGERS BRING A GIFT OF BACH’S CHRISTMAS ORATORIO
Have you ever thought, whilst watching a superb performance of a Shakespeare play,
how much the Bard would have enjoyed being in the audience? Or pondered how Beethoven might delight to hear a top modern orchestra playing one of his symphonies? Had J S Bach been sitting in St Cuthbert’s Church in Wells on Saturday evening, he would surely have been thrilled with the Somerset Singers’ performance of his Christmas Oratorio. Singing together with the Lochrian Ensemble and soloists Christina Birchall-Sampson (soprano), Daniel Brown (counter-tenor), Philip Pooley (tenor) and James Birchall (bass) it was a superb evening.
Sung very competently in German the opening chorus ‘Rejoice, be glad, celebrate the time…’ was a truly irresistible summons. Throughout the evening the choruses were strong and vibrant, a response to the call to ‘Serve the Highest with splendid choruses …’ with choir and orchestra, especially the trumpet, complementing each other. These were then balanced by the singing of gently familiar chorales each of which concluded with its own soft harmony.
The recitatives and arias sung by the four talented soloists brought to us different dimensions of the whole. The bass solo ‘Who can rightly extol the love our Saviour holds for us‘… gave us gentle, quiet strength whilst the delightful aria ‘Happy shepherds hurry…’ had flute and tenor voice singing and dancing together on the way to see the baby. The final recitative sung by all four soloists, seemed to represent the whole of society as they sang ‘How can hell be frightening now…‘ and indeed we would not go home under a cloud of fear but overjoyed to have heard such a beautiful, assured but tender performance of this wonderful Christmas piece.
Saturday 13th December 2014 – JS Bach Christmas Oratorio
Saturday 31st May 2014 – Verdi Requiem in Wells Cathedral
At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Somerset Singers held in November 2017, the Society approved the change of the Society Title to be “The Somerset Choral Society aka “Somerset Singers””.
The Somerset Choral Society is now a choir of around 40 voices. We rehearse weekly from September to May in the Concert Hall of Sidcot School in Oakridge Lane, Winscombe, North Somerset, see map).
We have two major performances each year, usually at St Mary’s Church, Wedmore or St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells, with concerts at Wells Cathedral every few years.
We are always pleased to welcome new members (there are no auditions) – see Contact/Rehearsals for details, or just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The choir evolved from evening classes at the Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar, and gave its first performance under the direction of Peter Scott-Winfield in 1987. Since then it has varied in size but continued to perform quality choral music, singing a wide repertoire of pieces and consistently attracting large audiences.
Our recent performances include Ralph Vaughn-Williams Sea Symphony in Wells Cathedral in May 2016, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Paukenmesse in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells in December 2016, Rutter’s Magnificat & The Sprig of Thyme in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells in May 2017, Mendelssohn’s Elijah in December 2017, Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem in June 2018, Advent by Candlelight including Bob Chilcott’s On Christmas Night in November 2018, Music for a Summer Evening including Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, as part of the Wedmore Arts Festival in May 2019, all in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore and, most recently, a Candlelight Concert including Britten’s Ceremony of Carols in November 2019 in All Saints Church, Wrington. You will find full details of our past performances and current programme elsewhere on this site. Important dates are also included in the Dates page. We look forward to seeing you, either to sing with us or in the audience!