On Saturday evening, 15th March, the Barbara Walton Singers, conducted by David Burrowes, performed works by three romantic
composers, Elgar, Fauré and Brahms at Stoke Minster Church. The Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands included the melodic
jollity of The Dance; a bright tuneful section. There was the rather melancholy False Love followed by
Lullaby and Aspiration, the contemplative On the Alm and the harsher, martial sound of The Marksmen.
This was a pleasant choral tribute to the joys of friendship, good company and an impressive landscape. All these moods were
splendidly captured by the controlled and tonal quality of the choir.
The Dolly Suite by Fauré, for piano duet, was played by Michael Lambert and Nigel Argust. This was an excellent performance, and the six sections were delightfully and sympathetically played with humour and feeling, to the delight of an appreciative audience, who responded with sustained applause.
After the Interval, there was an outstanding performance of A German Requiem by Brahms. Under the expert control of the conductor David Burrowes, the responsive singing was well balanced and finely blended. The lengthy and demanding second movement was an impressive feature, full of sustained and controlled sound. Throughout the work, there was the vibrantly clear tone of the sopranos, the warm and well-balanced sound of the altos and basses and the lyrical short sections finely sung by the tenors. The soloists were Rita Cullis, soprano, and Nigel Davies, bass baritone. They each gave excellent performances; with the soprano's powerfully clear bright sound, and the bass baritone's beautifully modulated expressive tone, well supported by the chorus. Throughout the whole Requiem the choir was well accompanied by the piano duet of Michael Lambert and Nigel Argust.
The audience were guided through the evening's performances by a comprehensive and interesting account in the programme written by Mike Fleuty. Finally, the numbing quality of the seating did not detract from an impressive concert of outstanding choral singing and pianoforte expertise.
Reader Ron Scholes' review, published in the Sentinel, March 2008