2015 Spring Concert
Saturday 25th April 2015; 7.45pm; St. Helier Methodist Centre
The Messiah by G.F. Handel with guest conductor Jonathan Willcocks, returning soloist Mark Le Brocq, tenor, joined by bass Matthew Durkan and local singers Gabriella Cassidy, soprano, and Georgia Mae Bishop, alto. Also performing were Malcolm Whittell on Keyboard Continuo, Emmanuelle Dumas on Cello Continuo and Luke Brown on Solo Trumpet
A review of the evening supplied by Imogen Nicholls
"It is always with an element of excitement that one takes one’s seat in the audience for a performance of Handel’s Messiah but an underlying nervousness too: the work is a ‘tour de force’ and should the resources not be up to the job, it can be a very long evening with no prospect of escape for at least 90 minutes.
From the first few bars of the overture however, it was obvious that this was not going to be the case in the Jersey Festival Choir’s performance on Saturday evening at the St Helier Methodist Centre.
From the opening bars and under the baton, of conductor Jonathon Willcocks, the Jersey Festival Orchestra began as it went on with controlled and expressive string playing over the continuo that never flagged throughout the evening. Complemented as the string playing was by the rich, expressive sound from the oboe and bassoon, I settled comfortably in my seat to enjoy their playing.
The Messiah is a big sing for the four soloists, each having several technically diverse and demanding arias throughout the evening. Tenor, Mark Le Brocq set the standard for them all with a soaring and near perfect opening rendition of ‘Comfort Ye My People’. His stretchy, seemingly effortless vocal line over the staccato strings was compelling from the start and with each new aria, and particularly the narrative in Part 2, we understood why he is in such demand as a soloist in the opera houses of Great Britain.
Of the four young professional soloists, three were from the island which is a remarkable feat for a small community. Soprano Gabriella Cassidy is well known to local audiences and, in her first ever Messiah, her arias did not disappoint. The exciting coloratura of ‘Rejoice Greatly’ gave way to an elegant and sincere ‘I Know That My Redeemer Liveth’. Gabriella’s phrasing and control were exquisite and her voice spine tingling.
Georgia Mae Bishop too, singing her first Messiah, gave an outstanding performance, showcasing in each aria different facets of her extraordinary musicianship and exceptional voice. The maturity of her understated but beautiful performance of ‘He Was despised’ belies her 22 years.
Seldom do we hear a bass voice as good as that of Mathew Durkan, who studies with Denis O’Neil at the Welsh International Academy of Voice. Again, his arias were outstanding. These young singers have great futures before them and it was thrilling to hear them.
However good the soloists, any performance of Handel’s Messiah stands or falls on the quality of the choir -
Although over two hours long, the performance ended all too soon. With the sound of the magnificent trumpet playing of Luke Brown in the Finale still ringing in our ears, the audience stood and cheered.
At the very start of the evening, Philip Le Brocq, Chaiman of the Jersey Festival Choir dedicated the performance to the memory of Amy Luce MBE. It was a fitting memorial to Amy. She would have been so proud of the choir that she once conducted and thrilled with this performance -
Photographs are copyright: Jersey Evening Post
The evening was judged a great success with an audience of over 500 people present to hear Messiah sung in the following manner;
1. Orchestra Sinfony (Overture)
2. Tenor Recitative Comfort Ye
3. Tenor Air Ev’ry Valley shall be exalted
4 JFC chorus Chorus And the Glory of the Lord
5 Bass Recitative Thus saith the Lord
6. Alto Air But who abide the day of His coming
7. Chamber choir Chorus And He shall purify
8. Alto Recitative Behold, a virgin shall conceive
9. Alto and chorus O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
10. Bass Recitative For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth
11. Bass Air The people that walked in darkness
12. JFC Chorus For unto us a child is born
13. Orchestra Pastoral Symphony
14a. Soprano Recitative There were shepherds abiding in the field
14b. Soprano Recitative And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them
15. Soprano Recitative And the angel said unto them
16. Soprano Recitative And suddenly there was an angel
17. JFC chorus Chorus Glory to God
18. Soprano Air Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion
19. Alto Recitative Then shall the eyes of the blind
20. Alto Air He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
21. JFC chorus Chorus His yoke is easy
INTERVAL 20 minutes
22. JFC chorus Chorus Behold the Lamb of God
23. Alto Air He was despised
24. JFC chorus Chorus Surely he has borne our griefs
25. ALL Chorus And with his stripes we are healed
26. Chamber choir Chorus All we like sheep have gone astray
27. Tenor Recitative All they that see him laugh him to scorn
28. Chamber Choir Chorus He trusted in God
29. Tenor Recitative Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
30. Tenor Air Behold, and see if there be any sorrow
31. Tenor Recitative He was cut out of the land of the living
32. Tenor Air But thou didst not leave His soul in hell
37. JFC Chorus Chorus The Lord gave the word
38. Soprano Aria How beautiful are the feet
39. JFC chorus Chorus Their sound is gone out
40. Bass Air Why do the nations so furiously rage together
41. Chamber choir Chorus Let us break their bonds asunder
42. Tenor Recitative He that dwelleth in heaven
43. Tenor Air Thou shalt break them
44. ALL Chorus Hallelujah
45. Soprano Air I know that my Redeemer liveth
46. JFC chorus Chorus Since by man came death
47. Bass Recitative Behold, I tell you a mystery
48. Bass Air The trumpet shall sound
49. Alto Recitative Then shall be brought to pass
Chamber choir Chorus But thanks be to God
53. ALL Chorus Worthy is the Lamb that was slain/ Amen chorus
See a first for the Festival Choir! A flash-