Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Valentine Singers

St Gabriel’s Church, Aldersbrook

Saturday 12 November 2011

Valentine Singers chose music from England and Austria at St Gabriel’s Church, Aldersbrook, presenting a varied programme of works by Britten, Bruckner and Tallis among others.

The concert opened with Charles Wood’s Oculi omnium, sung from the back of the church, and this was followed by Thomas Tallis’s Canon. While singing the Canon the choir processed to the front, using both sides of the church, resulting in a magical surround-sound effect for the audience. The first half of the concert continued with two wonderful performances of Bruckner motets, Ave Maria and Locus iste, which were full of expressive and well-controlled singing. Haydn’s Little Organ Mass closed the first half. This short Mass is a delight both to sing and listen to and the Valentine Singers did not disappoint. Special congratulations go to soprano Clare Gailans for her first class solo in the Benedictus.

Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb opened the second half – a rather eccentric work which the Singers performed with great skill, save a slight lack of incisiveness in the rhythmically complex second section. I am a big fan of Geoffrey Burgon’s works, but feel that his Nunc Dimittis needed a trumpet part in order to provide some contrast in sound and texture.

Frances, Emma and Peter Quintrell, Audrey Cassidy, Anthony Harrison and Andrew Taylor sang solo parts – all of them should feel proud of their contribution. The excellent David Sheppard was organist for the evening, and as usual the skills of conductor Christine Gwynn resulted in an enjoyable evening.

John Buckmaster

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Rejoice! It's nearly Saturday

Really looking forward to this!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Concert Review of Judas Maccabaeus

This review was submitted to The Ilford Recorder but did not make the issue for W/E 10.04.11

As with most works by Handel, his oratorio Judas Maccabaeus oozes quality. The performance by Valentine Singers in the comfortable surroundings of St Gabriel's Church, Aldersbrook matched that quality from beginning to end.

Handel sets the scene with an overture and then continues to tell the audience the story of the second century B.C. Maccabean revolt through a series of recitatives, airs and choruses. Of the five fine soloists Jane Streeton and Paul Sheehan stood out with their assured delivery and unfailing quality.

The Jericho Ensemble was also excellent throughout.Wonderfully crisp and responsive, they laid a sure foundation for the soloists and chorus.

Valentine Singers is a fine choir - from their sensitive opening chorus to the joyous final Hallelujah, Amen (sung from memory) they displayed all that is good about choral singing, and their commitment and professionalism was evident right through this long, taxing oratorio. Conductor Christine Gwynn is not one to shirk a challenge - all credit to her for again bringing a major work to Redbridge, and with such style.

The next Valentine Singers concert - Music from Stage and Screen - takes place on Saturday 2nd July in Barnardos Church, Barkingside - pencil it in your diary!

John Buckmaster

Monday, 21 February 2011

Interesting concert

Some news from Laura Pease of a concert which VS members might be intrested in

Thursday evening at St Martin in the Field
American choral music including both versions of 'O nata lux', Songs and Sonnets and 'Sure on This Shinng Night' amongst other short items by other US composers

Tickets still available at St Martins web site stmartin-in-the-field.org

Thanks Laura