Review: Karen – a treasure among pianists

Review of our “Into the Light” concert at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield on 25 October 2014: “Karen – a treasure among pianists”

This was the Emsworth-based Renaissance Choir’s concert but the individual star was that treasure among pianists, Karen Kingsley.

Giving the singers a break, she played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata with a rhythmic security and expressive freshness that tamed the brightness of the piano.

And then she deputised effectively for orchestra in the same composer’s Mass in C.

Her playing effectively underscored the deeply personal, human quality of the work, as highlighted by conductor Peter Gambie in his introduction.

Soloists from the ranks demonstrated the quality of voices in a choir where every member has to have both artistry and discipline to achieve a perfect blend.

The fugue at the end of the Credo and the swell in the Agnus Dei, for example, were thrilling.

Philip’s Moore’s setting of a Welsh poem, I Saw Him Standing, travelled effectively from bleakness to beauty, and perhaps Mr Gambie will programme that again – as he did here with James MacMillan’s Miserere from the choir’s previous concert.

With its homage to the famous Allegri setting, it seemed even more powerfully haunting this time.