Reviews and responses to “French Connection: Poulenc’s Gloria”

Imaginative and skilfully delivered – Review by Peter Rhodes, The News, Portsmouth

There were many highlights in Saturday’s imaginatively planned programme of English and French repertoire, including Schofield’s ingenious and beautiful setting of words by Bengali polymath/writer Radinranath Tagore.

This choir does lush chording and hushed dynamics to considerable effect, as shown in Schofield’s “Stream of Life”, and they are at their most reliable in music made of conjunct lines, as in the plainsong-inspired Duruflé motets.

They were also convincing in the neatly structured homophony of Harris’s “Bring us, O Lord God.” But what they’re not always so good at is non-Latin diction and, as well as missing consonants in some English words (where was the “t” in “light”, “th” in “death”?), there was scope for considerably more engagement with the French language in Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine.

However, they gave a heartfelt yet spirited account of Poulenc’s Gloria to close their concert. An enjoyable evening playing to a deservedly full house.

Other reactions:

Gorgeous programme! Ian Schofield’s Tagore settings were inspiring – have they been recorded yet? – and the Poulenc Gloria (with wonderful Karen Kingsley at the piano and Susan Yarnell’s pure soprano solo) was rich with energy and tenderness. The choir’s responsiveness and attention to detail was exemplary – Joanna Godfree

What a wonderful evening we have just experienced listening to the Renaissance Choir at their ‘French Connection’ performance in Petersfield. Each piece was meticulously presented, and the dynamics and tonality couldn’t have been bettered. Congratulations to Ian Schofield for composing the excellent ‘Stream of Life’ full of empathy and contrast, and so sensitively performed by the choir. – John Tappy

Just wanted to say a big ‘congratulations’ for a super concert tonight. Rich and varied, high quality singing and a full house! It was a great concert” – Steve Sargent, MD of The Petersfield Choir

I thought the concert touched the thin place twixt earth & heaven – thanks to Peter & the choir & Karen – Susan Yarnall Monks, Assistant lecturer and Vocal Tutor at University of Chichester and Soprano with The Renaissance Choir (see her blog https://singunique.com)

Congratulations once more! I hope you all felt you did yourselves proud. It was clearly a lot of work. It was lovely to hear the Schofield again, and all at once. Lots of other favourites in there too – and that Poulenc which is very hard but I do like it! Your three concerts in 2016 have been very special and I hope they’ve been an excellent birthday present to yourselves. So much to celebrate. And Karen was such fun as well as being brilliant! – Anne de Poitier

 

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