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