Thursday, 14 August 2008


I could not resist this commentary by the MD of our local choral society. On their summer performance of Elgar's love-it-or-hate it magnum opus, 'The Dream of Geronitus', he writes:

"Let's get the depressing  bit out of the way, and not to beat about the bush. Up in the west gallery the Bridgeman Singers detracted from the overall performance, and indeed spoilt it in places. In 2000, this chamber choir provided the semi-chorus for us with true intonation and reliable rhythms, staying with the main body of performers steadfastly and contributing an atmosphere of magic and confidence, but I am at a loss to fathom out what has happened since then; I had taken them as 'read' and feel let down, as do many others. After living and breathing 'Gerontius' for the last year or so, it is depressing beyond description to have an otherwise splendid performance marred by such slipshod singing, which has absolutely no place anywhere near us. I invited them, so I am to blame, but on the day there was simply nothing that I could do to improve matters which were essentially beyond my control, what a shame.

"But on to better things, the vast huge majority of the performance...was magnificent. We had a magnificent orchestra, led by the indefatigable Malcolm Latchen, who did sterling work beyond the call of everyday professional musical life; cobbling this work together on such minimal rehearsal time is quite a strain on everyone...When thinking about the finances of such a large orchestra as this, it is worth bearing in mind that each individual player (most of whom make their living from music) was paid less than half the hourly rate of a supply teacher, or not a lot more than a heating engineer or plumber will charge for a call out fee with the first half an hours (sic) work, or half the hourly rate that we paid to our decorator recently..."

"...The great C major chorus on 'Praise to the Holiest' worked a treat, one needs to go into more detail than that - it was lovely. The Angel's Farewell was a little disappointing, due to the inexperience of the lady soloist (despite her lovely voice) and the happenings in the west gallery, but it did have sensitive and shapely areas, including the very end, and it is worth noting that it took a long time before someone broke the silence by applauding - which is what I wanted..."