from the Wokingham Times, December 2008
JOHN Dryden's poem, Ode on St Cecilia's Day ,is a celebration of the patron saint of music.
Handel took Dryden's ode, with its praise of music, and made it into a new form of sacred drama - the Oratorio.
It is an exciting piece and this performance by Wokingham Choral Society's singers, under their conductor Alexander Chaplin, expressed the sentiments of the poet which the composer celebrated. They brought out the pure joy of "heavenly harmony" and the grandeur of the "Sacred Lays".
Their singing was exact, even in the most dramatic moments of the thrilling excitement of "too late!" They rose to the challenge and remained in control.
They were equally well-prepared for Mozart's "Great" Mass in C Minor. The Kyrie was lovely; their attack in the Gloria was bright - and there was an impressively neat slide into "et in terra pax ..."
The Credo was confident and hearty and the fugue in the Sanctus was clear.
Soloists Amanda Forbes and Sally Harrison, both sopranos, Joseph Cornwell and Wyn Pencarrig were a very well-balanced quartet; for example in "cum Sancto Spiritu" and in "Benedictus". Sally Harrison's Laudamus Te was warm and fresh.
It was grand and delightful performance of both classics.