Review by Clive Hook:

Cirencester Choral Society autumn concert at Cirencester Parish Church, November 25

WITH Vivaldi’s Gloria and Pergolesi’s duet from Stabat Mater, Cirencester Choral Society’s concert on November 25 was bound to be one where everyone would recognise something familiar.

The wonderful thing is that the less well-known pieces performed turned out to be real gems too, making for a beautifully structured performance with just the right mix of mood changes and contrasts.

Vivaldi’s Magnificat opened the programme - one of the lesser known pieces. I’m sometimes concerned when a large choir presents a piece like this that requires agility, crispness in the runs and changes of energy.

It can be muddy, but Carleton Etherington, the conductor, had clearly done a great job of focussing the choir’s energy and, on the night, everyone matched the pace and vigour needed for such movements as the Fecit Potentiam.

The Fall of Jericho overture by Gloucester-born 18th century composer William Hayes was new for everyone I think – and what a piece we’ve been missing!

A beautifully balanced and precise performance from the Corelli Orchestra with a simply stunning oboe solo in the second movement rising like a mournful lark above the strings. Enchanting, and I’m looking forward to hearing it more in the future.

Soloists Hannah Grove and Zarah Hible delighted all with the clarity and quality of their voices in the tear-jerking Stabat Mater Dolorosa from Pergolesi before we were back to the wall of sound of Vivaldi’s Gloria – a wonderful way to finish the evening, with lots of choir volume and great solos beautifully paired with the oboe for the soprano and the cello for the mezzo.

It was great to see the choir’s unflagging enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment and we ventured out into the cold warmed by their energy.

A splendid way to bring the Abbey 900 series of concerts to a close.