The BBCS Summer Concert was performed in St Marks Church, Reigate on Saturday 29th June at 1930. This year the choir performed alongside leading professional singers and musicians to create a complete orchestra performing a range of challenging works including:
Haydn: Nelson Mass with soloists:
Hannah Macaulay (soprano)
Carris Jones (mezzo)
Julian Forbes (tenor)
Oliver Hunt (bass)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 5 in E Flat "Emperor" soloist Anna Tetsuya
Mozart: Marriage of Figaro Overture
Matthew Price: Never Weather Beaten Sail (orchestrated version Premiere! )
On 29th June the Buckland & Betchworth Choral Society returned to St. Mark's Church in Reigate to perform their summer concert. After their remarkable accomplishments at the Leith Hill Music Festival in April winning numerous prizes - including one for the highest cumulative score - this year's concert was another unequivocal achievement. Under Ben Woodward's direction for the third year, the choir was joined by the BBCS Orchestra for a marvellous programme of Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, as well as the premiere of an orchestrated version of a composition by Matthew Price.
First the orchestra played the dazzling overture to Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro. Full of contrasting fortes and pianos, the bright and satisfyingly loud tuttichords are enough to wake even the drowsiest audience member. Next we heard Matthew Price's choral setting Never Weather-Beaten Sail, which was originally commissioned for Leith Hill but which had been amended by replacing the piano accompaniment with an orchestration. Price's setting for this familiar text is appropriately uplifting, with a radiance in both the orchestra's harmonies and dissonances, in beautiful distinction to the choir's intimate unisons.
To end the first half we heard Beethoven's virtuosic 5th (Emperor) Piano Concerto, performed spotlessly by the BBCS accompanist Anna Tetsuya. The concerto varies markedly in tone throughout, from the magnificent and triumphant first movement with its unmistakably Beethovenian arpeggios, into the peaceful wistful lyricism of the second movement, finishing with a dance-like rondo.
The second half was given to Haydn's symphonic mass entitled Missa in Angustiis (Mass for Troubled Times), the title referring to the dread of Napoleon's expanding power, but it has since acquired the nickname 'Nelson Mass' after the British victory at the Battle of the Nile. Written in D minor, the opening of the Kyrie creates an astonishing sense of dread, the trumpets and timpani - relentlessly remaining on the tonic - evoking an atmosphere of foreboding and anguish, and motifs are echoed
throughout the entire mass which give the work a unity and coherence underneath its shifts in temper. Joined by first-rate soloists and the outstanding orchestra, the choir delivered a clean and tight performance of a complex, striking and glorious work which completed this tremendous evening.