Gloria! – November 2nd 2019

Review of ACS concert at St Martin’s Church Epsom on Saturday 2 November 2019

There’s no hiding place if you choose to begin a concert with Handel’s “Zadok the priest”. Everyone knows what to expect and Ashtead Choral Society, ably supported by the Kent Sinfonia, were right on the money in this Coronation Anthem, with clear diction, bright tuning and flowing semiquaver runs from all voices.

More Handel followed, with a duet from “Israel in Egypt” which was beautifully crafted by the professional soprano soloists,  Helen Pritchard and Lizzy Humphries.

To close the first half we heard the “Mass in B flat” by Hummel, an almost exact contemporary of Beethoven. Although there are no soloists, the various movements provide a range of moods and tempi, and these were well executed by all the performers, under the expert direction of Andrew Storey. Particular highlights (in addition to a confident tenor line throughout) were the basses leading the way in the “Amen” fugue at the end of the Gloria, and the beautifully rich “Et incarnatus est” from the altos.

The second half was devoted to the music of Vivaldi, which gave us another chance to hear Helen Pritchard and Lizzy Humphries who performed, respectively, the first two sections of the motet “Nulla in mundo pax sincera” with exquisite clarity of tone.

Rather like “Zadok”, there’s not much new to say about the Vivaldi Gloria… ACS and the Kent Sinfonia, along with the two soloists, gave us a first‐rate performance where the clarity of text was again exemplary. One last word of praise must go to the ACS sopranos who, with no sign of vocal fatigue, punched their way through the soaring trumpets in the final double fugue.

Hats off to all concerned!

Review by “The Warrior”