St. Dunstans Church, Mayfield, East Sussex
Jubilee Jubilations (25 November 2012) was Mayfield Festival Choir’s first concert under the direction of of our new Music Director, the distinguished conductor, musicologist and broadcaster Jeremy Summerly.
With Primavera Chamber Ensemble (director Paul Manley) and soloists Rhiannon Llewellyn (soprano),Angharad Lyddon (mezz0-soprano), Nicholas Scott (tenor) and Frederick Long (Bass) the choir performed works appropriate to close to this Jubilee year.
Handel: Coronation Anthems
Mozart: Missa Brevis No. 10 in C Major K220 (Sparrow Mass)
Schubert: Mass No. 2 in G D167
An Auspicious Debut
Regular supporters of Mayfield Festival Choir and residents of the surrounding area attended St Dunstans Church on Sunday evening for the debut concert of the newly appointed conductor and Festival Artistic director, Jeremy Summerly, who brings international experience and a distinguished reputation to the post. His credentials include many conducting and recording engagements throughout the world, broadcasts with the BBC, and his position as a member of the professional staff at the Royal Academy of Music.
The programme opened with Handel’s Four Coronation Anthems – The King shall Rejoice, Zadok the Priest, Let Thy Hand be Strengthened and My Heart is Inditing. These were followed after the interval by the Schubert Mass in G major and Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C – the ‘Sparrow Mass’ – so called because of the ‘chirruping’ violins in the Sanctus. This was an ideal choice of works to demonstrate the reinvigorated sound and strength of the choir. There was a new alertness in their responses – all sections sang with conviction, confidence and obvious enjoyment, responding to a conductor who was always in charge of proceedings.
The choir’s ensemble is also much improved, with some beautiful quiet passages in the opening Handel Coronation Anthems, culminating in a rousing ’Zadok the Priest’, which exploded from the simmering, spine-tingling orchestral introduction.
Mayfield are fortunate to attract soloists from the Royal Academy of Music, many with potentially international careers. There was a strong quartet on Sunday evening – soprano, Rhiannon Llewellyn, mezzo-soprano, Angharad Lyddon, tenor Nicholas Scott, and bass Frederick Long. They all sang splendidly, especially the soprano, who excelled in her high soaring contributions and the mezzo-soprano, who sang with nicely rounded warmth.
As always, the Primavera Chamber Ensemble brought stylish support to the performance and Andrew Benians presided at the organ, offering his usual firm and accomplished accompaniment.
This was another most enjoyable evening at Mayfield and an indication of future anticipated musical excellence!
“Last night was fabulous, really fabulous … it really sparkled, and it will be a long time before anything as loud as the opening of Zadok will ever be heard in that church again!”
“It was such a wonderful concert for us too. We had a ball. Congratulations to you and Jeremy for a supreme effort and result”