Hertford Choral Society teamed up with the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain to deliver an enterprising, entertaining and hugely enjoyable concert in All Saints Church on Saturday 25th.

This latest exploration in a succession of imaginative pairings showed its great strengths in the opening number. Handel's Zadok the Priest was lively, crisp and bounced along with a tremendous sense of life and joy. The following transcription of Bach's Fugue in G Minor was a foot-tapping/head-nodding dance.

The Saxophone Choir brought some of their "party pieces" including exhilarating renditions of Dick Barton - Special Agent and Mozart's Magic Flute Overture, an impressively choreographed treatment of Bohemian Rhapsody and a luscious treatment of Ketelbey's Sanctuary of the Heart.

We were also reminded of a local connection in Simon's Mangrove Groove a piece commissioned for Simon Balle School by the Choir's composer in residence Roger May.

HCS treated us to a very well prepared and clear rendition of two movements of Elgar's Bavarian Highlands and a well controlled rendition of Morten Lauridsen's Dirait-on. For me the upper voices rather outshone the gentlemen in terms of expressive lyricism and delivered pin point accuracy of tuning. The same could be said of the spirited rendition of Chilcott's Singing by Numbers though the gents redeemed themselves in the well executed slides during Cruet MacNightshade (words by Spike Milligan!).

The one piece that did not come off for me was Elgar's Spirit of the Lord. The rich sound of the Saxophone Choir meant the ethereal opening and closing were far too solid and earth-bound with the Saxophone Choir never really managing to achieve a true pianissimo and drowning the singers on occasion.

Nevertheless this was a very worthwhile exploration of the scope of an unusual collaboration and well worth hearing - as evidenced by the vivacity of Bernstein's West Side Story and the final Over the Rainbow with a (conscious?) tribute to the late and great George Shearing in the final harmonisation.

The concert deserved and received a standing ovation.

More please!

Martin G Penny

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Join us for our Christmas Concert - THIS Saturday 15th December!

Hertford Choral Society warmly invite you to join us for our Christmas Cheer Concert on Saturday 15th December, All Saints Church Hertford, 7.30pm. With us will be Morgans School choir, James Gower (Bass Soloist), Christopher Muhley (organ/ piano), along with compère Roger Mullis and Musical Director and Conductor Derek Harrison. Please click here for details of how to buy tickets.

We look forward to welcoming you to HCS! Click here for more news from Hertford Choral Society.

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