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 from the Wokingham Times, 8 April 1999

Triumph in Mozart's epic choral challenge
Eton College School Hall

The Mass in C Minor is considered by many to be the greatest of Mozart's choral works -- it is magnificent, complex, and not for the faint-hearted.

It is characteristic of the conductor, Ed Gardner, and the Wokingham Choral Society to take on the challenge -- and, as we have come to expect, to make a brilliant success of it.

The affirmative opening bars of the Kyrie showed that the choir was strong.

The gentle hush of the second Kyrie gave us an idea of their disciplined flexibility on which Gardner was able to draw throughout the performance.

This was clearly seen in the impassioned rise and fall in the "Qui tollis", in the typically Mozartian sparkle of "Factorem coeli et terrae", and the rolling waves of "Genitum, non factum".

There was real joy in "Cum Sancto Spirito" and the "Osanna" swung along splendidly with enviable precision and clarity.

The soloist, Emma Bell's, "Laudamus te" was perfectly beautiful.

The Chameleon Arts Orchestra specialises in the needs of choral societies. They blended sensitively with the singing.

They also gave a striking performance of Mozart's "Prague" symphony. The main Allegro of the first movement and the brisk Finale with its tricky syncopation were very enjoyable.

Future plans for the Wokingham Choral Society include a Summer Concert on Saturday, June 12, at All Saints' Church, in Wiltshire Road, Wokingham.

They will be back at Eton in November with Handel's Messiah. It will be interesting to hear what Ed Gardner does with that!



Rosemary Bayliss