Songs of Love and Longing
Penrith Methodist Church
27 May 2006
The Wordsworth Singers are off on tour to Lithuania shortly and we were treated to some of the repertoire they are taking with them.
It was a challenging programme, most of it a capella in Czech and German, and it came off splendidly. The choir musically danced their way through the centrepiece of the luscious Brahms Liebeslieder waltzes. They gave us a wide range of expressive qualities, though a few entries and the balance suffered a bit from having no conductor out front. The piano accompaniments, plus the well-chosen Slavonic dance piano duet interludes from Ian Ryan and Michael Bawtree, were light and flexibly played with energy.
This fine choir is improving every time I hear them and having a new and up-and-coming musical director, James Grossmith, is clearly having benefits. A colleague of his, Michael Bawtree, directed the choir on this occasion with clarity and precision.
The only thing I missed was a stronger, earthier tone quality for the first set of Dvorak songs - they were a bit too sweet and English for my taste. But then, their gusto and humour in the refreshing English folksongs that finished the programme couldn't have been bettered.