County sounds ring out in De Aston hall

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Sounds of Lincolnshire from the Market Rasen and District Choral Society

Review by Geoff Goddard

LAST Saturday, music by two Lincolnshire composers, Rowland Lee and John Gladwin, was heard in the Sports Hall at De Aston School.

The accompanying orchestra was changed at the last minute as the Holgate Orchestra was unable to fulfil its commitment, being replaced by the South Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra at very short notice.

Choral society musical director Jeffrey Blewett was the conductor for the evening.

The concert began with Delius’s orchestral variations of Brigg Fair, which had been arranged to fit the orchestra by Rowland Lee, and in this first piece the tempo of the playing might have been a bit more lively as it seemed as though the bustle of the fair wasn’t quite there.

Having set the Lincolnshire scene, the performance moved on to the Fantasia Lindum by John Gladwin for orchestra, chorus and soloists Julia Riley (mezzo soprano) and Andrew Bain (tenor).

The composition created the soundscape of the rural community well and followed on nicely from Brigg Fair. This was a musical impression that was worth hearing and it is regrettable that, so far, the music has remained unpublished.

Unfortunately, the performers had to cope with the acoustic of the sports hall which meant that, in spite of some extra amplification of the singers, the chorus was not always clearly audible, but the overall sound was impressive.

In the interval there was a celebration of localism, with produce from local suppliers – wine from the Three Sisters Vineyard at Claxby, cheese from Cote Hill Farm in Osgodby, plum bread from Starbucks of Market Rasen and sausages from R & P Favell of Caistor.

Requiem by Rowland Lee was the sole work in the second half.

It must be a real challenge to produce a requiem as so many well-known ones have gone before.

This was music with a slightly different slant and you could hear the influence of Rowland Lee’s work in writing film and television sound tracks. There were two diversions from the elements of the traditional text, with words from D H Lawrence and Shelley for the solo parts.

The balance between the choral society and the orchestra was much better in this piece and it was easier to appreciate the performance of the choir, which acquitted itself well.

The next concert by the Market Rasen and District Choral Society will be in the same hall on December 1, when they will be singing Handel’s Messiah.