Harpenden Choral Society Concert 14th June 2014
Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini was performed by Harpenden Choral Society on Saturday evening in St Nicholas Church Harpenden. The choir sang admirably throughout and managed to cope with the rather dry acoustic of the building. I was particularly impressed by their broad dynamic range, and largely clear diction. They negotiated their way around many florid fugal passages with panache. The choir has much to be proud of for their enthusiasm and energetic input. Gloria was spirited and exciting, especially Cum Sancto Spiritu, and dynamic contrasts in Credo were excellent.
Supported by four superb soloists, Jeni Burn soprano, Kristin Finnigan alto, Thomas Raskin tenor and Callum Thorpe bass, there was little doubt that this was to be a secure performance from these experienced singers.
Although Rossini wrote the work for a small ensemble with Piano and Harmonium accompaniment, he later orchestrated it before others got the chance to do so. Vivien Powles pianist accompanied with aplomb. The piano could have been more finely tuned. Alexander Binns harmonium and organ excelled in his performance of Preludio Religioso. It was unfortunate that the harmonium lacked power and was barely audible.
John Andrews conducted with his usual erudition. All in all, a most enjoyable evening.
NEIL BUICK Herts Advertiser June 2014