Saturday 9th April saw Cupar Choral Society back after a break due to the pandemic with a well-prepared and challenging programme.
Despite the disappointingly small audience, the choir rose to the occasion with some bold singing.
Beginning the evening with Schubert’s “Mass in G”, the choir were balanced with good tuning throughout. Soprano Michelle Sheridan possessed a good lyrical line with a vibrant top to the voice. The conducting of Michael Segaud was clear, and his choice of tempi kept the performance moving at a brisk pace. This was most evident in the energetic and spirited opening of the “Gloria” with good dynamic contrast by both soloists and choir. Despite being a last-minute stand in, the scalic passages in the accompaniment were expertly dealt with by organist Peter Shepherd and the assistant organist at Paisley Abbey deserves a special mention for his contribution to the evening’s performance. As the performance progressed it was evident that this work had been well-rehearsed, and there were clear and confident choir entries in both the “Sanctus” and “Benedictus”. In the latter, Michelle Sheridan was joined by the other soloist; baritone Peter Grant and both singers seemed to enjoy the acoustic of St. John’s before the work concluded with a pleasing and atmospheric tutti pianissimo “Dona nobis Pacem” in the “Agnus Dei”.
After a short interval the performers turned their attention to the Requiem Opus 9 by Durufle
This work, in complete contrast to the Mass in G by Schubert, exposes the listener to extreme dynamic contrast, complex rhythms and harmonies. The choir clearly relished the challenge, and they again displayed a good knowledge of the work. The complex accompaniment was an important part of this performance, and the excellent Peter Shepherd was again joined by Joe Donmall with his musical playing of the solo cello part in the “Pie Jesu” complementing the soprano soloist. Throughout the work the choir dealt with the harmonic complexities and chromaticism admirably and although there were some tentative moments it had no bearing on the overall performance. Both soloists were again confident performers with Peter Grant evidently enjoying the declamatory “Libera Me”. As in the other well-known Requiem by Faure, the work finishes with “In Paradisum” and the remarkably fresh sounding and well-supported soprano voices were joined by the rest of the choir singing “Chorus Angelorum” to conclude the performance.
As post-pandemic life gets back to normal, I hope to see this proud choral society get the audience it deserves for its next performance.