Cupar Choral Society Christmas Concert Review
Contributed by Liz Murray
Cupar Choral Society’s seasonal concert on Saturday 7th December in St John’s Church was a splendid musical experience for the sizeable and appreciative audience. Musical Director Michael Segaud, supported by Matthew Beetschen on the organ, expertly led the choir through a well-chosen programme delivered with confidence and obvious enjoyment.
The traditional opening carol, Once in Royal David’s City, was followed by Gabriel Faure’s popular Requiem which, with contrasting sections of quietness and power, moved from the Introit and Kyrie to the richness of the baritone solo performed ably by Eric Towns. The lyrical and moving Pie Jesu with its quiet plea for rest and peace, was sweetly sung by another Choral soloist, Helen Knowles-Venters.
The choir’s attention to dynamics and tone provided dramatic light and shade during the Agnus Dei and Libera Me, again introduced by the baritone soloist. Finally, the ethereal In Paradisum, with its promise of heavenly peace, brought this beautiful and sensitive performance to its serene end.
After a short interval, the music took on a more festive feel with a selection of well-known carols for audience participation interspersed with seasonal readings and choral pieces. The Sussex Carol, by turns bouncy and legato, contrasted splendidly with The Lamb, a poem by William Blake set to music by John Tavener. The latter was a haunting, atmospheric work of some complexity which was handled very effectively by the choir. A varied trio of songs was completed by What Sweeter Music appropriately arranged by John Rutter.
Next, the more modern words of Olaf, the snowman from Frozen, took the audience to an unusual version of Frosty the Snowman by Michael Segaud in the style of John Rutter. Its smooth, flowing rhythm contrasted nicely with the jollity of We Wish You a Merry Christmas which brought the evening to a rousing conclusion.
This was a very enjoyable concert by singers who displayed good musicality and a sensitive understanding of the different moods evoked by the music. Their performance was deservedly greeted by enthusiastic applause.