Satisfying perfromance of Handel’s Messiah in Honiton

18:30 07 January 2013

Archant

Messiah is often done at Christmas, but not always in its entirety.

The Sheldon Singers, under the stylish direction of Julie De’Ath Lancaster, gave us the complete work at their recent concert, and what a treat it was. Smallish forces in chorus and orchestra created an authentic baroque sound, just as – the programme note pointed out – Handel would have expected to hear.

From the start, with well-judged tempi and dynamics in the opening Sinfony, it was clear that this was not a large-scale free-for-all but a chamber performance of charm and poise. The chorus, who are the backbone of this piece, after all, produced some lovely sound, nimble in the ‘runny bits’ although occasionally lacking in attack.

The men especially were inclined to lose volume in the faster passages. However, the dramatic choruses in part two were handled confidently, and the Hallelujah chorus was magnificent.

Tenor soloist Dean Ward, in his debut Messiah, was firm and confident, filling the church with wonderful sound in “Ev’ry valley”; he wisely resisted the temptation to add decorations, letting the music speak for itself. David McKee, the bass soloist, has a nice baroque sound, and a sense of the drama of the piece.

Alto Christiana Eastwood has a very impressive range, shown to good effect in appropriate vocal embellishments.

The soprano soloist only appears half way through part one, but Katherine Walker made the most of her late entrance with angelic singing.

Her bright tone and flexible line were just right for the Angel of the Lord music, and she was particularly engaging later on in “I know that my Redeemer liveth”.

The orchestra in Messiah has various roles - support, accompaniment and leading, by turns.

The players, and especially Andrew Carter as continuo, fulfilled all of these admirably, taking centre stage or subsiding to a discreet support as required. Julie De’Ath Lancaster is to be congratulated on master-minding a very satisfying performance.

Sue Goodman

The next concert by the Sheldon Singers will be held in St Paul’s Church, Honiton on Saturday, April 27 and will feature the new ‘Requiem’ by Bob Chilcott. For further details, go to www.sheldonsingers.org.uk

0 comments

Other Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 16:58

Girl band Little Mix have announced a UK summer tour, including a show at Powderham Castle, near Exeter.

Read more
Mon, 17:18

John Shillito’s ‘Select Four’ will be performing in Dalwood this weekend.

Read more
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bridport Arts Centre will be hosting Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) new music ensemble Kokoro.

Read more
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

After the huge success of last summer’s community play The Tempest of Lyme, the Marine Theatre is working on a spectacular new show called Monmouth.

Read more
Monday, January 9, 2017

Members of Axminster Drama Club are now in their final rehearsals for this year’s pantomime.

Read more
Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hospiscare’s Men’s Walk is returning on Saturday, March 11.

Read more
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Visitors to the Town Mill, in Lyme Regis, are being invited begin the new year by treating themselves to an affordable piece of art created by local artists who regularly exhibit in the Malthouse and Courtyard galleries.

Read more
Friday, December 30, 2016

This year’s Christmas concert of the Sidmouth Choral Society was a splendidly uplifting affair.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 0°C

Most Read Entertainment

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications