Christmas Spectacular

Evening Post review - 23rd December 2008

Claiming he had difficulty in pronouncing Jauchzet Frohlocket, one of two pieces the choir sang from J S Bach's Christmas Oratorio, conductor David Ogden said "It's all right, I don't sing I only conduct".

Whether he sang or not is debateable but he certainly mimed every word in this concert which varied from Oratorio to Carols, Christmas songs, gypsy violin music and Johann Strauss' polka. The exuberance and enthusiasm showed towards the changing melodies communicated itself to the choir and orchestra making this an evening full of musical fun.

Some purists might find it difficult to accept Handel's Hallelujah Chorus following Jeremy Little's terrific xylophone solo and the audience bobbing up and down to the twelve days of christmas but because all concerned were never disrespectful to the music it would be hard to criticise them on that count.

This is the third year the orchestra and chorus have come together and the sound balance between singers and musicians was excellent.

Amongst the fun pieces none was better than the Gypsy Violin Duet - Czardas - played by orchestra leader Roger Huckle and his son Emil.

The choir's beautiful unaccompanied singing of In Dulci Jubilo was an equally memorable moment but perhaps Bob Chilcott's modern arrangement of the final number We Wish You A Merry Christmas summed up an evening when serious musicians let their hair down a little without ever devaluing the music.

8/10

GERRY PARKER