WOKINGHAM Choral Society gave another outstanding performance to a packed audience at the Great Hall, Reading University, on 10th November 2018. This was the first concert under its new conductor, James Morley Potter. By a happy chance James had once been a fellow student at Queen's College, Oxford, with the Society's accompanist, Benedict Lewis-Smith.
Fittingly, on the eve of the centenary of the Armistice, the main work in the programme was Mozart's Requiem. In his introductory address before the concert James described how Mozart had died before completing the composition. It was first brought to fruition by his contemporary, Franz Süssmayr and this remains the best known version today. James, however, extolled a more recent version by Duncan Druce (1988), chosen for the performance, as arguably a more faithful representation of Mozart's intentions. The differences were most marked in the Lacrimosa and the closing sections of the work.
The choir performed the score with great feeling and conviction, supported by polished playing from the Hampstead Chamber Orchestra and four gifted young soloists. An impressive case was thus made for the virtues of the Druce version.
The concert began with Serenity, an evocative short composition for voices and solo violin by the contemporary composer, Ola Gjeilo. This was followed by an elegant performance of Mozart's youthful Divertmento in D Major and two superbly performed Mozart favourites, Laudate Dominum and Ave Verum Corpus.
The Society's ever popular Family Christmas Concert will be held at All Saints' Church, Wokingham, on Saturday 15th December at 6pm. Refreshments will be available from 5.15 pm.
R. J. E (aglen). 11Nov2018