Once the twenty accomplished members of the orchestra had taken their place, Richard Neville-Towle, the evening’s conductor, gave a few opening remarks - just enough to make us feel welcome. We were given a quick guide to the very long lute. Then we were enjoying Handel’s Concerto Gross Opus 6 and attuning ourselves to the best of Baroque.
David Jackson Young was up in the lesser pulpit to recite John Dryden’s A Song for St Cecilia’ Day, 1687 and the orchestra played Handel’s brief cantata Look Down, Harmonious Saint. The words we had just heard read were now sung by Mary Bevan, soprano, and tenor, Ed Lyon.
The highlight of the concert was Handel’s The Song for St Cecilia’s Day with recitative and arias sung by Mary Bevan and Ed Lyon, finishing with the Grand Chorus and the voices of all twenty in the choir.
This was a very fine concert for the most discriminating of Baroque enthusiasts amply demonstrated by their applause. I simple loved the operatic style and movement of Ed Lyon. Indeed I was mesmerised by his performance. But on talking afterwards to those older and wiser they felt there was no place for opera in a concert of this nature. I begged to differ.
Wednesday 10 August 2011, 7.30pm