Horsham Music Circle: A Spring Celebration! / St Mary’s Church, Horsham - review by Jane Thomas
A year ago HMC presented a wonderfully varied programme of local talent in the beautiful setting of our Parish Church. Last night’s concert had a similar format: the excellent St Mary’s Choristers and Choir, directed by Jeremy Weaver, flanking a terrific array and variety of soloists. Ultra-talented young trumpeter Theo Murton gave us some joyous Haydn plus ‘My Grandfather’s Clock’ complete with formidably virtuosic variations; we were treated to evocative Vaughan Williams and dramatic Rusalka by well-known local singers Ian Gardner and Helen Whittington; and each half featured a dazzling display by the Young Musician of the Year percussion finalist, Toril Azzalini-Machecler.
The concert began with Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’, the lively freshness of Zoe Eborn’s performance reminding us of spring-times of the past! Unusually we heard this with organ accompaniment, but it worked well under the capable hands of Jeremy Weaver, who also ended the concert with Gigout’s impressive ‘Grand Choeur Dialogue’. To further demonstrate the versatility of this King of Instruments, we had earlier enjoyed Vierne’s sprightly Scherzetto and dreamy Berceuse from assistant organist Mike Overend.
And back to Toril, who, paired for the first number with the formidably dexterous pianist Alison Sutton, provided two astonishing sets. Each set began with a modern piece written specially for percussion, and ended with an arrangement, first of the Argentine tango-king –Piazzolla, and then of Sibelius. Toril demonstrated equal brilliance on tuned percussion - such as the huge Marimba – and on the Zarb, or Persian goblet-drum, where we were riveted by ‘Le Corps a Corps’, a confrontational counterpoint between ferocious vocables and equally ferocious finger-and-hand drumming. The piece has been described as a ‘schizophrenic melodrama’, and proved pure audio and visual theatre!
And now to St Mary’s Choir, who performed a very wide range of music with equal success, from Parry to Coldplay. The younger Choristers gave us a delightful medley from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – entreating us to ‘Be our guest, put our service to the test!’ Well, we did, and left the church extremely well-satisfied customers!