Date: Saturday 16th March, 2019
Venue: Ely Methodist Church
Programme: Sing and be Joyful
Featuring: Ely Consort, Conductor ~ Matthew Rudd, Piano ~ Charlie Penn, Cello ~ Anna Jones
Ely Consort, directed by Matthew Rudd, is an excellent choir and obviously delighted the packed audience in Ely Methodist Chapel on Saturday. Their singing was a very high standard and as a choir it proved particularly competent at fusing complex chords into emotive, cohesive harmony.
Many of the pieces in the programme were new and those of us who are wary of contemporary composers were given a very pleasant surprise. Matthew obviously knows his music and the selection chosen for this programme, which included many modern-day composers, was particularly musical and delightful.
None of this detail would have been possible to enjoy without the skill and sensitivity of this wonderful choir and its director.
Pianist, Charlie Penn, and cellist Anna Jones also made and excellent contribution to this lovely programme. Charlie had some highly challenging material to play, and he managed it all with real panache. It was very pleasing to hear the rich tones of the cello. In ‘Serenity’ (‘O Magnum Mysterium’) by Ola Gjeilo, the cello was especially well integrated, making the piece meaningful, heartfelt and expressive.
Other highlights for me were ‘Time is Endless’ by Vytautas Miškinis, ‘Cantata Domino’ by Ko Matsushita, ‘The music of stillness’ by Elaine Hagenberg and the final ‘Polovtsian Dances’ by Alexander Borodin. ‘Time is Endless’ contained gorgeous, ethereal harmonies, ‘Cantata Domino’ was tuneful with a tinge of attractive melancholy, ‘The music of stillness’ had a beautiful, sustained texture with exquisite harmonic changes that were clearly expressed, and the excitement and exotic exuberance of the Polovtsian Dances ended the evening perfectly. None of this detail would have been possible to enjoy without the skill and sensitivity of this wonderful choir and its director.
Their next event will be John Rutter’s ‘Feel the Spirit’ in St. Mary’s Church, Burwell on the 29th June 2019 www.ticketsource.co.uk/elyconsort
Review: Rosemary Westwell
Photos: Peter Lancaster