Choral Society Concert: Handel’s Messiah

The Choral Society concert remains a glorious annual tradition: a celebration, a collaboration, participation from all corners (quite literally in this production which saw an interesting use of the Chapel in an ‘in the round performance’) and the result is something really marvellous. 

This year we were treated to Handel’s evergreen Messiah, in some ways a brave choice by conductor, Alex Hodgkinson, given that it could be argued that performances of this should be used sparingly due to its popularity.  The thinking is that – quite apart from it being ‘a jolly good sing’ for the mass choir – it is a work which Marlborough College pupils should have the opportunity to perform at least once in their five-year career at the College.

What was striking about this particular performance was it freshness.  The choir sounded truly spirited and excited, and alongside some fine professional soloists (baritone Dominic Sedgwick was especially worthy of praise for creating some breath-taking long phrasing), leading Marlborough College pupils contributed with some brave and accomplished solos throughout the evening.

The orchestra (led by the excellent new Marlborough College Head of Strings, Hector Scott) offered dedicated and colourful support (Mike Allen’s trumpet playing was quite sublime too) – with the balance particularly noteworthy as they responded effectively to Hodgkinson’s charismatic and heartfelt approach.

Altogether then, hugely enjoyable and for all the right reasons:  honest music-making with true integrity, imagination and youthful inclusion with the vast space and beauty of Marlborough College Chapel once again providing the ideal setting.

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director
Twitter: @MCol_Music

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