from the Wokingham Times, April 2011
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.
Their careful 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 unit.
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.
Christopher 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 fun.
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.