Summer Serenade

St Nicholas' Parish Church, Yarmouth

An element of ambiguity was present during this Yarmouth Choral Society concert conducted by Antony Bussell with John Farmer (organ) and Terry Cunnane (piano) as accompanist.

There were moments when the singing suggested the light-hearted qualities of a serenade but the religious theme of the first half of the programme tended to eliminate thoughts of summer scenes.

Parry's ode Blest Pair of Sirens was sung in a robust fashion. The richly-varied organ accompaniment and the dense harmonies of the vocal parts brought Elgar to mind.

Two Songs of Farewell, also by Parry, were notable for some tranquil legato singing.

Handel's Sixth Chandos Anthem is made of sterner stuff, which makes considerable demands. The singing was passionate, the tone was resonant but there were insecure moments. Chris Bell (bass) was the soloist in the third section And That God Is Great.

The second half was devoted to songs of the British Isles. The opening item Summer is a Coming In was performed as part of a mini lecture about the development of harmonic structure.

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This was a concert which looked promising on paper but the overall effect was not totally convincing.