Christmas Concert 2023
Our 2023 Christmas Concert was held on Saturday, 16th December at 7.30pm, in St Mary’s Church in Wigton, conducted by our Music Director, Ian Wright, and accompanied on the organ by Ian Hare.
The programme consisted of three works, by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and Francesco Durante:
JS Bach Magnificat
The Magnificat is the praise and thanksgiving given by the Virgin Mary after she learns that she will give birth to Jesus, as written in the Gospel of Luke.
Vivaldi’s Gloria, dating from the early eighteenth century, is now a familiar and popular choice at sacred events, including Christmas.
In addition, the audience was invited to join the choir in singing two carols appropriate to the programme, Angels, from the Realms of Glory and The angel Gabriel from heaven came.
Conductor: Ian Wright
Organ: Ian Hare
We are very grateful to Deborah Bishop for her permission to include here a personal review of the concert:
Wigton Choral Society Concert 16th December 2023
Wigton Choral Society’s Christmas concerts are usually highly enjoyable affairs and this one did not disappoint. In the welcoming surroundings of St Mary’s Church, a good-sized audience turned out to hear some very interesting and inspiring music. Under the baton of Ian Wright and superb accompaniment on the organ from Ian Hare, the choir did themselves proud.
The concert began with a rousing performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria. Exciting dynamic contrast and confident leads from all sections with careful attention to balance and ensemble ensured this was the highlight of the evening. The blend of the soprano soloists, Clare Eccles and Hannah Weakley, was sublime – it felt like they had sung together forever! The exhilarating conclusion to the Gratias Agimus Tibi prompted my 11-year-old son to turn to me and say “that was very good!” – high praise indeed.
The Durante Magnificat followed, a work I was not familiar with prior to this performance. The polyphony of the opening was skilfully interwoven by the choir who clearly relished the challenge set by this work. The tenor and bass soloists, Cameron Mitchell and Isaac Cooper, performed with great sensitivity but also an assured sense of power and commitment when demanded by the music.
The second half of the concert was given over to the Bach Magnificat, a demanding and challenging work on which the choir had clearly worked hard. The exuberant opening from the organ set just the right tone for the performance that was to come. Beautiful phrasing characterised the performance from each of the soloists, with the alto and tenor duet, sung splendidly by Anne-Marie Kerr and Cameron Mitchell, and the soprano 1 and 2 and alto trio likewise. The piano dynamic achieved by the choir towards the end of Suscepit Israel really did show off the versatility of the ensemble.
This was a great concert, enjoyed by all – well worth missing the “Strictly” final for!
If you would like a copy of the concert flyer, it can be downloaded here.