Tue, January 3rd, 2012
St.Davids Cathedral Monday 2 January 2012
Posted in the Concert Reports Category
with Daniel Cook Organist and Master of the choristers of St. Davids Cathedral and Christopher Williams piano
JOHN S.DAVIES conductor
There was a time when newspapers allotted space for music performance criticism, but now almost all find it unimportant. Thus outstanding events are sidelined and left just to the memory of those present. Such is the 21st New Year Concert given by The John S.Davies Singers on the 2nd, the customary date not possible in St.Davids Cathedral, when it falls on a Sunday.
Daniel Cook, Organist and Master of the Cathedral choristers was in total accord with the conductor John S.Davies and his choir, ensuring a deeply satisfying and extraordinary display of vocal and nstru-mental talent, under a conductor dedicated to the interpretation of meaningful texts.
With a smidgen of Bach sung offstage as the prelude and a recessional with music by John Rutter, which obviously took the assembled hundreds by surprise. This topped and tailed a remarkable show of musical prowess in the familiar and not so well-known. The varied items with shades of difference on organ and piano, played by Christopher Williams, was spiced with a capella, a great feature of this conductor’s art.
Tom Hunt of Worcester Cathedral lineage and member of the John S.Davies ensemble was the outstanding soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols. This haunting piece has now become a tradition at this annual event and as a departing listener said in so many words “my favourite piece and I must hear it again and again”.
With so many pearls of musical compositional beauty in this international repertory selection from Wales and beyond, included Mathias, Grace Williams, Eric Jones and others, Grieg, Mendelssohn and traditional. Some gleamed with soloists allocated to several items, and all involved making it evident that the heart and soul shone through each singer.
The Old Hundredth, with Daniel Cook in triumphant array, before the sung benediction, lifted the voices of all. Quite an occasion for this 21st annual event.
Copy of a letter to the Editor of the Western Telegraph :
“I feel sure that every single person privileged to be present at the Cathedral Church of St.Davids on the January 2nd, would gladly declare with me what a superb concert the John S.Davies Singers gave there that unforgettable day. Under their renowned conductor and to the accompaniment of Daniel Cook (organ) and Christopher Williams (piano),their performance can only be described as awe-inspiringly beautiful. It was a profound experience for us all as that ancient and hallowed place resounded with such joyous music at the birth of the new year. These dedicated people truly deserve our appreciation and praise.” J.Towyn Jones