GARLETON SINGERS CONCERT REVIEW
Sunday 1 May, St. Mary’s Church, Haddington
If the secret of a triumphant choral concert is well-chosen attractive works well sung, then the Garleton Singers certainly hit the jackpot in a packed St Mary’s, Haddington on May 1st.
Conductor Stephen Doughty fashioned a most exhilarating and pleasurable evening: the choir was on great form with a round, warm confident tone, ably supported by a small orchestra that played with verve and panache, and four fine soloists, with accompanist George Wilson, eloquent, as ever, on the organ.
The opening piece, one of Mozart’s now rather neglected Epistle Sonatas made a rousing orchestral warm-up, and then we plunged into a most impressive account of Vivaldi’s exuberant Gloria, whose twelve sections, ranging from joyfully energetic to reflectively melodic, were all well-served by choir and orchestra working as one. Soprano Rebecca Murphy and alto Rebecca Anderson have very richly promising voices and sang with poise and presence, owning the acoustic, and blending beautifully together in the Laudamus Te. The soprano solo with its weaving oboe obbligato, and the alto solo, with cello, were also delights
After the interval another Epistle Sonata featuring a captivating conversation between solo organ and orchestra paved the way to the very different sound world of Mozart’s Vespers. In this wonderful sacred work, the choir demonstrated its full dramatic colours, but also, in the radiant Laudate Dominum, provided a serene legato accompaniment to the gorgeous and beautifully controlled soprano solo. The refined tenor of Ian Darling and the sonorous depths of Niall Kennedy’s bass tones provided a rich counterpoint to the female voices in the quartet of the second section.
The choir has a very small male section, but last night they really punched above their weight, giving good balance and colour to the sound, as did the orchestra, strong in all sections. Best of all everyone looked as if they were having a great time performing this glorious repertoire!