O Sacrum Convivium

Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich 
17 November 2012

A Welcome Return for this Choir.

Welcome back in Norwich once again, the 30 members of the Colchester Chamber Choir, under their conductor Roderick Earle, presented a programme of modern French sacred pieces that were artistically satisfying and spiritually moving.

Four motes by Maurice Duruflé were an excellent choice for starting. Modern but echoing traditional Catholic chant, each took just one theme and brought out the meaning of its Latin text.

Unity and concentration also added force to Poulenc’s powerful interpretation of passages suitable for Good Friday.

With Kriss Thomsett adding the organ accompaniment, the sustained line of Fauré’s setting of Jena Racine’s Canticle breathed serenity.  So did Vivet’s Pie Jesu and Messiaen’s mediatation on the eucharist.

Hilary Sellers was the clear soprano soloist in Pierre Villette’s Hymn to the Virgin and time and again the basses contributed telling deep notes where required.

Varying tone for the expression of a range of moods, the choir generally sang without straining, with its different sections balanced and blending well.

Only Dupre’s Psalm 117, plainly intended as a rousing finale, seemed too steep a vocal challenge.

Christopher Smith, Eastern Daily Press,  November 2012

Baroque to Bruckner

Baroque to Bruckner: Ceremonial Music for Choir and Brass. St Teresa’s Church, Colchester

Essex County Standard 24th June 2011
Colchester Chamber Choir showed its greatness with perfectly balanced sound, total musical commitment and faithful interpretation of a variety of styles.

Their programme cleverly compared and contrasted works from the Baroque with Bruckner’s 19th century pieces, and the added dimension of brass instrumentalists from the Royal College of Music provided a variety of textures to enhance the vocal drama.

Purcell’s fervent and well-sustained Funeral Sentences were exquisite. Bruckner’s Ecce Sacerdos was mighty in its declamation, and the strategic scattering of voices and instruments around the church provided a delightful echo effect from the small choir in Schutz’s Jauchzet. It also replicated the authentic surround-sound experience of Gabrieli’s O Magnum Mysterium.

The enthusiastic audience was rewarded with an encore, Bruckner’s Locus Iste, bringing the evening to a sublime close.

Jackie Wallace