Those of us who attended Billingshurst Choral Society’s performance of Elijah were fortunate indeed.
Mendelssohn's dramatic work, based on the life of the Old Testament prophet, presents challenges to a choir: its powerful passages of angelic light through to darkest shade demand stamina, and a disciplined and sensitive approach. Musical director Cathal Garvey more than met these challenges to inject drama, tension and narrative drive into the performance. Here was a choir well-prepared, a choir who clearly enjoy singing for their director. There was clear diction throughout, particularly notable in tightly rhythmical declamatory choruses; quiet, reflective passages were well executed adding texture and richness.
The fine quartet of soloists provided much of the emotion in this most operatic of oratorios. In particular, Paul Carey-Jones gave an Elijah of immense presence, his glorious voice and moving delivery producing an outstanding interpretation of Mendelssohn's masterpiece. William Revill sang the Youth with confidence, the purity of his voice a highlight. BCS can be proud of their achievement.
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