BRAHMS' German Requiem is one of the most demanding of the compositions in the
repertoire of choral music.
Wokingham Choral Society's performance at this
conceit was impressive in their understanding and command of the music with its
many variations in sentiment and swift changes of mood.
preparation showed from the rise and fall of the opening phrases right through
to the glorious final chords.
The frequent changes in pace were handled with
close precision. There were no blurred edges as the choir moved as a single
The conductor, Alexander Chaplin, led the performance at a moderate pace
which gave the significance of the words and Brahms' musical expression of them
time to sink in.
The hushed tones at the start of the second part emphasised the
meaning of the great sweeping phrases later on in that section.
The neat changes in tempo in Part Four expressed the happiness of the text.
The final Chorus was simply glorious.
The baritone, Matthew Sprange, sang the
solos in the Requiem.
Earlier in the programme he sang the meditative solo parts
in Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs with calm sensitivity.
Cromar and Dominic John provided the instrumental accompaniment for the evening
on two pianos. The rapport they had with each other was perfect - they played
together as one soloist.
Their performance of Brahms' Hungarian Dances was full
of vivacity and charm; the second number was dainty, the finale was hearty
Cecilia McDowall's On Angel's Wing was an interesting piece; mystical in
tone, the composer used unexpected harmonies and rythms for the choir and
soloists in an attractive modern composition.