Feb 5, 2009, 4:41 PM
So, the evening went well (from Choir's point of view as well as Richard Digance, who was an inspired choice of guest, very witty, self-deprecating and a positive comedian, but also very moving at times)
Re: [FullMonte] Reading Phoenix Choir
As a Hexagon first-timer, I loved every minute and will remember it always (some of the choir are quite blase about this annual event...). I hope you won't mind if I quote a few comments e-mailed to us from some of the audience - the first comment is from a very well-known choral composer and conductor, and the last from a young lady attending her first choral concert.
"I found the singing very satisfying and some pieces most moving. In the latter category, Tu Es Petrus shone with clarity and blend. Palestrina must surely have his place in heaven. Weelkes too, with his mournful dissonances [in 'When David heard'] was beautifully done. The sonorities of Stanford`s Blue Bird, never an easy piece to bring off, were gorgeously tuned like everything else in the evening and gave much pleasure. By contrast, William Dawson`s superb arrangement of Ezekiel really phizzed and bubbled along as did old favourite Rhythm of Life later on.
At the outset, I thought VW`s Lover`s Ghost was a non-starter, but both VW and the choir soon altered my opinion as it gradually grew to a wonderfully managed climax"
"...the standard never faltered for a single bar. The balance of the parts was excellent, and your control of dynamics, and the choir's immediate response at all times, was outstanding. It was simply music-making of the highest quality."
"Water of Tyne made me cry - such a moving performance"
"It is amazing that the choir sings 20 songs and not a note of music in sight. I didn`t see anyone miss a note all night."
"What I admire most of all is the way a Phoenix concert flows. I don`t know how you all know what is coming next, but everything flows seamlessly from one piece to the next changing the mood, the emotion, the style, the period, everything taken in the stride. I go to so many concerts where there are pauses between pieces, while music is organised, or instruments are tuned, and frankly the concert just dies. The next item has to start all over again to resurrect interest and momentum. Phoenix stays flying up there all the time, never flagging. By the end one is exhausted but so satisfied."
"Over half the songs made me cry ... and the Rhythm of Life and the running one [our arrangement of 'You'd better run', where we ... run on the spot!] were just so good and so well choreographed. You could tell that everyone in the choir loved every single minute of it all, so automatically the audience loved it even more."