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Wokingham Choral Society

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from the Reading Chronicle, April 2007

... the choir and two soloists rose to the occasion magnificently.
Eton College School Hall

JOHANNES Brahms' German Requiem - En deutsches Requiem - was the main item in the programme of Wokingham Choral Society's latest concert. This popular work challenges the vocal capabilities of the performers with plenty of contrasting themes and tempi and the choir and two soloists rose to the occasion magnificently.

The controlled and sustained choral solemnity of the opening section led to the dramatic build-up at the close of the second section and our initial introduction to the first guest soloist, Rodney Clarke (baritone).

However, it was the third section, Herr lehre doch, that gave the audience a chance to fully appreciate the full depth of the rich tonal qualities of his voice as it resonated around the hall.

The brief fourth section, at the centre of the work, led to the first soprano solo. The mellifluous phrasing of Katherine Manley (soprano) during Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit contrasted delightfully with all the preceding music and lead to the superb climax of the work.

The singing was accompanied by the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra who opened the evening with a spirited rendition of Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn. The whole evening was masterminded by the skilled direction of conductor Aidan Oliver.

  Barrie Theobald