Reviews: Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah
24th March, 2018.
Great Hall, University of Reading

HANDEL’S Messiah must rank as the favourite oratorio of British musical audiences. It is almost unbelievable that he wrote it in the space of twenty four days, but this probably explains the remarkable cohesion he achieved between the resources of orchestra, choir and soloists.

The work was given a truly memorable performance by the Wokingham Choral Society in the Great Hall of Reading University on Saturday 24 March. The concert was preceded by an insightful talk by the music historian, Dr Katie Bank.

In performance it became immediately apparent that the choir was on top form, capturing perfectly the different moods of the choruses and singing with exemplary clarity and diction, a credit both to the singers themselves and to the telling influence of their Musical Director, Patrick Allies.

As always, The Hampstead Chamber Orchestra, led by Katarina Đordević, played with exquisite sonority, and the four young soloists, Christine Buras, Jess Dandy, William Wallace and Michael Mofidian, with the society’s accompanist Benedict Lewis-Smith on continuo, completed a faultless ensemble with their vocal and visual expressiveness.

From the many magical moments nothing surpassed (for the writer) the poignancy of the choir singing the words ‘And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all’.

The evening, from every aspect, resulted in a flagship performance.

The summer concert of the Society will take place in All Saints’ Church, Wokingham, on Saturday 23 June, 2018 at 7.30pm.

Submitted to Wokingham Paper and Reading Post, March 2018