Choral Society Concert – Elijah

Mendelssohn’s Elijah remains a musical tour de force – no question. Imagine the impact it must have made on the Birmingham public back in 1846 on its première in the exquisite Town Hall, with the composer himself directing proceedings. One hundred and seventy three years later, it still sounds fresh and uplifting, and in no way diminished by the sands of time.

Marlborough College Choral Society, Chapel Choir, soloists and orchestra kept that spirit alive with a memorable and polished performance in Chapel, expertly conducted by Adam Staines. On this occasion, Mr Staines chose not to make any (usual) cuts, so we were treated to the work in its entirety. The choir (with ladies resplendent in new red scarves) were on fine form, responding with vigour and verve to the drama and passion of the work, ably assisted by Marlborough College Chapel Choir who themselves produced some fine singing in a number of movements where they sang alone.

The soloists were also quite superb with Rhian Lois, Marta Fontanals-Simmons, Andrew Tortise and Dominic Sedgwick delivering some ravishing lyrical phrasing, and Ned Finney (CO Re) contributing in the role as ‘The Youth’ with true distinction (the top As were exquisite).

The orchestral part is demanding and long, and the orchestra should be congratulated on providing such excellent support throughout. Corinne Frost’s cello solo was divine. It was particularly pleasing to see such a healthy cross collaboration of staff, pupils and OMs amongst the performers and in that respect tradition was nicely preserved.

Altogether, then, a tremendous spectacle with particular praise for Conductor and Choirmaster, Adam Staines, who was so utterly instrumental in drawing this whole performance together so successfully. Mendelssohn would surely have been proud.

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director

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