Mendelssohn wrote the bulk of his oratorio Elijah between June 1845 and August 1846 when it was first performed in Birmingham Town Hall on 26th August 1846. Following its first performance, Mendelssohn completely revised it before it was next performed in Exeter Hall, London on 16th April 1847, it is this version that we performed in this concert. It is full of stirring melodies and chorales interspersed with arias and recitatives containing many four part and eight part choral pieces.
A large audience enjoyed the Somerset Singers production of Elijah on Saturday 9th December and went home with the music in their ears and full of praise for the overall performance. Alison Blundell in her first appearance as Guest Conductor brought out the best from the chorus and orchestra and enabled the five soloists to sing their solos in their own styles. She also had the pleasure of conducting her husband who sang in the bass chorus and her son George who sang the part of the Youth. Edward Grint as Elijah led from the front with his powerful bass voice and was ably supported by Richard Rowntree (Tenor) who returned to the Somerset Singers Concert to sing the part of Obadiah. In the first half, the Quartet of Emma Brain-Gabbott (Soprano), Louise Mott (Mezzo), Edward and Richard delivered a sublime version of “Cast thy burden upon the Lord” while in the second half, the trio of Emma, Louise and Lucy Balderson (Soprano) gave a wonderful unaccompanied rendition of “Lift Thine eyes”. Once again, Catherine Black led the Lochrian Ensemble from 1st violin to provide weight, sensitivity and power to the overture and major choruses while the 52 members of the Somerset Singers Chorus matched them with powerful, rich enthusiastic voices. The vocal fire definitely “descended from heaven” and in the earthquake the voices certainly “shook the earth” but, in still small voices, “Onward came the Lord”! The concert ended with the mighty “And then shall your light break forth” with the whole ensemble giving their all for the final “Amen”; in summary it was a powerful and memorable concert.
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE PERFORMANCE
Our Guest Conductor for this concert was Alison Blundell who is also our accompanist.
Our soloists take a bow:
Left to Right – Edward Grint (Bass) – Lucy Balderson (Soprano) – Louise Mott (Contralto) – Emma Brain-Gabbot (Soprano) – Richard Rowntree (Tenor)
George Blundell – The Youth
Catherine Black – Leader of the Lochrian Ensemble
The Ensemble stands for the applause.