A May Day concert is a rare event these days and Madrigallery, with the WIT Chamber Choir, was a treat especially the three guest soloists and two accompanists.
The Good Shepherd Chapel is not a particularly good venue for patrons; the seats are hopeless, the lights glaring throughout the concert and this time the performers were in shadow. Then there was the apology that the organ had problems and I thought there were two organs in the chapel.
Bridget Knowles (mezzo soprano) shone in Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer with the famous O For The Wings Of A Dove. Knowles has a wonderfully emotionally expressive voice and a purity of emphasis that is a joy. She excelled in the Vaughan Williams, Five Mystical Songs. The male section of the WIT chamber choir were dull to indifferent while the female section coped well with Let All The World In Every Corner Sing.
The Vaughn Williams was indeed a treat as Julian Lloyd Webber that same day as lamenting the denial of the Bishop of Southwark to hymnal work like Parry etc. Webber said the Church Of England should be indebbeted to Vaughan Williams especially.
After the interval with Eric Sweeney at the piano, Madrigallery gave us a spirited and lively Messa di Gloria from a teenage Puccini. There was power in an opening Kyrie and the extended Gloria was bouncy and beautiful with Eugene Ginty (tenor) in almost verismo form in Ex Maria Virginae and Gratia.
A sombre Credo allowed Eoin Power (bass) to impress and again I loved his Crucifixus. The choir shone in a strong Benedictus and a high Agnus Dei faded into too quiet an ending.
David Rhodes conducted the evening with brio and brightness.