Recent Concerts

Christmas Concert 2017:  Bach’s Orchestral Suite No 4 in D Major, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Summer Concert 2017:  Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Maria Theresa Mass

Christmas Concert 2016:  Vivaldi’s Gloria, Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine, ‘The Shepherds’ Farewell’ from Berlioz’ ‘L’Enfance du Christ‘, Franck’s Panis angelicus and carols (some with audience participation)

Summer Concert 2016:  Bach’s St John Passion

Christmas Concert 2015:  Handel’s Messiah

Summer Concert 2015:  Brahms’ Requiem


Reviews of some recent concerts

Christmas Concert

Performed on Saturday 10 December 2016

Vivaldi’s Gloria, Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine, ‘The Shepherds’ Farewell’ from Berlioz’ ‘L’Enfance du Christ‘, Franck’s Panis angelicus and carols (some with audience participation). St John’s Church, Harleston.


Bach’s St John Passion

Performed on 18 June 2016

Bach’s work of small-bite recitatives needs an adroit juxtaposition of conductor, choir, soloists and orchestra.
Under Christopher Bracewell’s direction you knew this would succeed as the opening chorus met the surge of the orchestra.
Waves of ecstatic sound, whether measured, lively, meditative, declamatory, contrite or hymn-like filled St. John’s Church.
Tenor Michael Hart-Davies’ crystal clarity of delivery proved ideal for telling the crucifixion story and for the more expressive Airs.
Sri Lankan born, and now British citizen, Dhilan Gnanadurai, again brought his darkly passionate bass voice to the dramas of Calvary.
Contralto Catherine Denley’s singing had a loving quality, if a little underpowered; and there were some soaring-rafter moments from Soprano Siona Stockel.

Mature and mellow, the orchestra, led by Miles Golding, was a bedrock of excellence. Special mentions for the oboe, cor anglais and bassoon playing of Emma Penfold, Kim Haan and Mark Sharp.

Basil Abbott


Handel’s Messiah

Featured in the Diss Express on Sunday 20 December 2015

Reassurance and praise were the keynotes of this concert conducted by Christopher Bracewell.

Well-known choruses like And the Glory of the Lord and For Unto Us A Child is Born came across like warm, benign breezes.

The soloists were top drawer. Vernon Kirk had a particularly agile tenor voice. Dhilan Guanadurai combined an unassuming style with a molasses-rich voice.

Contralto Daniela Thomas, with Vogue looks, elegance and a winning smile, won the audience with Behold a Virgin Shall Conceive.

Soprano Lynda Russell also showed an ardent, urgent vitality in singing of angels and shepherds.

The orchestra, led by Miles Golding, played with great assurance and achieved a placid profundity in the Pastoral.

The Hallelujah Chorus had an exhilaration and sense of occasion that must have made it as memorable for the choir as the audience.

Handel’s great oratorio gave as much pleasure as ever since its Dublin charity premiere in 1742.

Basil Abbot

Read more: http://www.dissexpress.co.uk/what-s-on/review-messiah-st-john-s-harleston-1-7121619#ixzz3xzgZAYoj


Brahms’ Requiem and Vivaldi’s Nulla in mundo pax sincera

20 June 2015

Siona Stockel – Soprano,
Callum Thorpe – Bass

The German Requiem has a poised, one foot in the afterlife air, with all its hopes and fears.

Under Christopher Bracewell’s direction, the orchestra created the sombre opening, which was allayed by the ‘green shoots’ singing of the choir.

In the solemnities of All Flesh Is Grass the singers achieved some spine-tingling moments.

The dramatic, penetrative bass-baritone voice of Callum Thorpe and the cadenza and fugue of the chorus and orchestra gave a rumbustious flourish to end the first half.

The choir then gave a rolling energy to How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings.

Siona Stockel had opened the concert with a Vivaldi motet and a voice like a dextrous silver sword.

Now she touchingly sang the movement inspired by the death of Brahms’ mother.

By the end, with the final notes of the heavenly harp, death just seemed like a serene slipping away.

Basil Abbott, Diss Express


Haydn – “The Creation”

21 June 2014

Siona Stockel – Soprano, Michael 
Hart-Davis – Tenor
Callum Thorpe – Bass
Orchestra Leader – Miles Golding


Mendelssohn – “Elijah”

29 June 2013

Linda Perillo – Soprano, Laura Trayhurn – Contralto
Michael Hart-Davis – Tenor, Maciek O’Shea, Baritone
Orchestra Leader – Margot Rumanis


Handel – “Zadok the Priest” , Vivaldi – “Gloria”, Vaughan Williams – “The Old Hundreth Psalm Tune, and Mozart “Coronation Mass”

16 June 2012

Julia Golding – Soprano, Joanna Gamble – Contralto
Michael Hart-Davis – Tenor, Callum Thorpe – Bass
Orchestra Leader – Miles Golding

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