REVIEW: Angmering Chorale Autumn Concert, Arundel Cathedral

The Angmering Chorale and Director, George Jones, are always keen to broaden ours and, indeed their own, musical horizons.

Over the years they have performed many great choral masterpieces as well as giving Sussex premières of new works by their Patron, Sir Karl Jenkins et alia. For this year’s Autumn Concert they opted for Brahms’s German Requiem which, unlike most others which were written for the church and sung in Latin, uses the German language with Lutheran bible texts. The Chorale boldly chose to sing this in the original language thus adding to the authenticity of their performance. Additionally, we heard Poulenc’s Gloria (sung in Latin) which the Chorale’s new Chairman, John Bawler, dedicated to victims of the Parisian atrocities of the previous weekend.

As we expect of this fine organisation, both works were performed to a high standard with accomplished contributions from the young professional soloists, Laura Mitchell (soprano) and Christopher Cull (Baritone). The magnificent Sinfonia of Arun, led by Robin Morrish, provided their customary enhancement to proceedings and we enjoyed delightful sounds both choral and orchestral throughout the evening.

The choir coped well with the linguistic challenges of both works and their audience had the benefit of a fine programme which included both the original texts and English translations.

The Requiem is Brahms’s longest work and requires both choral and physical stamina since there are few places where the choir is not singing and therefore standing. Its seven movements include “How Lovely are thy Dwellings” which often features as a separate concert piece and was beautifully delivered here. I really enjoyed the whole performance and re-living this magnificent piece which I actually performed many years ago in my schooldays as a tuba player and aspiring choral bass singer.

Poulenc’s Gloria was written nearly 100 years after the Requiem. We heard some lovely sounds from all especially the soprano soloist, the altos’ plainsong chant in Laudamus Te and the tenors in the final section, Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris. The peaceful ending was indeed a fitting tribute to those who perished in Paris.

Jim Hurdwell

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