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Wokingham Choral Society

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from the Reading Chronicle, December 2011

University of Reading

On 19 November Wokingham Choral Society began its Diamond Jubilee season with a stunning and enthusiastically received concert in the Great Hall of the University of Reading.

The opening work was Holst's St Paul's Suite, played by the strings of the orchestra for the evening, the Brandenburg Sinfonia. This was followed by three short choral works by Holst's great friend, Vaughan Williams, accompanied sensitively on the piano by Dominic John. Written at different periods of his career, they showed Vaughan Williams' supreme skills as a choral composer, especially in his setting of Bunyan's prose in 'Valiant for Truth'.

The main work of the evening gave Classic FM enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy a complete performance of Karl Jenkins' immensely popular The Armed Man - a Mass for Peace. The conductor, Alexander Chaplin, coaxed out of the choir and orchestra the different moods of the music to perfection - from the insistent beat of the percussion, to the martial cries of the brass and the poignant sound of the strings, including the moving cello solo. The call to prayers was given by Sheikh Saddiqi Fawzi from the Regent's Park Mosque. The contralto soloist, Fiona Scott MacArthur was joined by three members of the choir for the haunting 'Angry Flames'. The choir itself sang throughout with a purity of tone and clarity of diction that was truly memorable.

Robin Eaglen