Handel: Dixit Dominus

Great Hall, University of Reading

On 2 April, 2016 in the Great Hall at the University of Reading, Wokingham Choral Society took its audience on a spectacular musical voyage. Apart from the captain and crew, five young soloists were also aboard. One of the recurring delights offered by the Society is the chance to hear such gifted singers at the outset of their blossoming careers.

The evening began with a pre-concert talk by the Society’s Musical Director, Patrick Allies, giving valuable insights into the programme of church music to follow.

The concert opened with Vivaldi’s Gloria, a Baroque sacred masterpiece, vying in popularity with his Four Seasons. Already in performing this work, the rapport between the choir, soloists and orchestra was conspicuous.

During the evening that followed the orchestra, known as the Solistes de Musique Ancienne, with the Society’s accompanist, Benedict Lewis-Smith at the organ, delivered one of the finest performances for the Society within recent memory.

The Vivaldi was followed by a moving performance of Mozart’s Solemn Vespers. After the interval Bach’s Cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen was beautifully sung at very short notice by the Slovenian soprano, Nika Gorič.

This was followed by the concluding work, Handel’s Dixit Dominus. Composed by him in Italy in his early twenties, it is the exuberant showpiece of a brilliant young man, making daunting demands upon the human voice, more akin to orchestral writing. The performance took the choir to a new level of achievement and bodes well for the future.

The next concert of the Society is of choruses from operas and musicals, entitled ‘Heroes and Villains’, at All Saints Church, Wokingham, on Saturday 18 June 2016, showing another side to this increasingly versatile choir.