from the Reading Chronicle, 12 April 2001
It was an evening of contrasts at the Wokingham Choral Society's spring concert.
The opening piece was not a particularly well-known one -- the powerful, agonised Stabat Mater by Szymanowski -- and was followed by Beethoven's glorious Choral Symphony No 9.
The Stabat Mater was completed in 1926 and is based on a poem where the writer describes Mary's agony as she watches Jesus on the cross. In it he asks to suffer as Mary does, in order to find redemption.
The choir ensure the grief, anger and violence of the piece got under the skin. It was sung in Polish, and in practice sessions the society used a phonetic version of the poem to make sure their performance was perfect.
Edward Gardner (conductor) and the Chimera Orchestra conveyed the grandeur of the Choral Symphony and the choir sang the Ode to Joy with inspiration and gusto.
The whole piece finished with long applause from the packed college hall.