“Whenever he thought about God it made him cheerful” – our last concert.

Did you miss our recent Hayden concert on the 26th March? This is what the reviewer, Vince Smith, had to say about it :

Bishopwearmouth Choral Society presented two Haydn Masses at its recent concert; the works being the St Nicholas Mass and Maria Theresa Mass.  Haydn was one of music’s most amiable personalities and composing Religious Music was not a reason for restraint.  A warm sunny nature pervades most of his music whatever the media. The programme notes in an attractive printed programme included one of Haydn’s most frequently quoted thoughts that “whenever he thought about God it made him cheerful.”

It is however for the performers to realise a composer’s intentions and that was certainly the case as the Minster was filled with some glorious sounds. Climaxes were thrilling without being forced and the more sensitive moments very moving.  One of the many delights of Haydn’s Choral Music is the way in which he uses the soloists.  Not so much self contained arias but interaction with each other and the choir thus creating a wide variety of choral textures. The guest soloists, Jessica Holmes (soprano), Sally Burchell (Mezzo), Mark Chaundry (tenor) and James Oldfield (Bass Baritone) proved to be an excellent choice.  The St. Nicholas Mass begins with a quartet of soloists and it was evident immediately that balance and blend were to be successful components of the performances.

Some of the region’s finest orchestral players provided the orchestra and under the expert and scholarly direction of David Murray the choral textures were underpinned with skill and sensitivity.  It was the string section of the orchestra that began the evening with a performance of a Mozart Divertimento that beautifully captured the elegant charm that is so often a feature of his music.    An appreciative audience were treated to an evening of music making of the highest quality.

Vincent Smith