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December 9, 2018 / basabbott

Advent Fare

Review

Christmas Concert
Harleston Choral Society

There is enough of biblical prophecy and the nativity in Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah to provide Advent fare.
With carols, one especially written, and Teleman’s German Magnificat, this was an ideal pre-Christmas concert.
Director Janette Ruocco has a sense of history, heard in her own carol Blessed Be That Maid. You felt that it must have been found in some 15th century manuscript.
Under her direction you could detect similar undercurrents when the Dargason Ensemble played the timeless opening of Messiah. And again in the touching Pastorale, with oboes and continuo (Alec Harmon, Chloe Peterson & Karen Smith) skimming the centuries.
Pick of the soloists was Mitesh Khatri, a velvet yet declamatory tenor. Gary Griffiths had the sternness of a bass and the subtlety of a baritone.
Soprano Beverley Lockyer was like Spring in December; and contralto Christine Petch sure and sincere.
The choir sang the prophecies with a light and tripping enthusiasm and relish. After the carols, with the audience, the wall seemed to come down even more. So the Magnificat was sung with a cheerful abandon.

Basil Abbott

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