09 July 2019

Our fave Beethoven

ABC ClassicFM has its annual Classic100 awards and this year it was for favourite composer and Beethoven won it. Probably you could have guessed the outcome, but Bach (no.2) and Mozart (no.3) were always runners, too. So it was opportune for the Llewellyn Choir to stage a Beethoven program. The main work was his Mass in C major; the others were Egmont overture and Choral fantasy. It was a great program and wonderfully performed. I hadn't heard the mass, but a mass is inevitably recognisable and thus familiar comprising the same run of titles, and, I guess, text. After all, the Catholic mass is a standardised and repetitive thing with a long history. The Egmont overture is well known but perhaps my least favourite on the night despite the effective performance. The Choral fantasy was new to me and a strange thing harking to the ninth symphony. It's solo piano for the first adagio movement, then into piano accompanied by orchestra and the choral section with two vocal soloists for the last few minutes. Odd and somewhat amusing but with some nice lines and several passages that clearly lead to the choral symphony. Renowned local piano accompanist Anthony Smith appeared as a piano soloist and did a great job. Four soloists appeared in the mass and their voices and interweaving harmonies were a great pleasure. I especially enjoyed Greta's soaring soprano and Paul's firm and strongly enunciated tenor. The Llewellyn Sinfonia was a nicely capable outfit and a great pleasure, obviously brought together for this program but featuring a string of CSO and such players. Nice to see the bass section of Max McBride and Dave Flynn. So, this was a great performance and a huge pleasure and, from the drinks and congratulations after, widely seen as a success. Wonderful and inspiring.

Llewellyn Choir and Sinfonia performed a Beethoven program including his Mass in C major in Llewellyn under Rowan Harvey-Martin (conductor) with soloists Anthony Smith (piano), Greta Claringbould (soprano), Jennifer Bennett (soprano), Ellen Malone (mezzo-soprano), Paul McMahon (tenor), Peter Ellis (tenor) and Christopher Richardson (bass). Lisa Stewart (violin) was concertmaster and Max McBride and David Flynn (basses) filled the bottom end.

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