Review of Concert on Saturday 15th June 2019
by Judith Hunt
Tritone Singers delighted a large audience in Christ Church Totland on Saturday with a programme of music entitled "Songs and Sonnets".
Introduced by conductor Richard Wilkins in a glittering waistcoat, the first half, sung a capella, began with settings of English Folk Songs by Vaughan Williams and Betty Roe (now 90 and still composing). Folk song settings are tricky to perform, requiring clear melody and words as well as justice to the arranger's art: we were not disappointed.
After making interesting connections in the spoken programme notes, Richard Wilkiins, with his pianist's hat on, played 'Rosemary', a delightful piece by Frank Bridge, the teacher of the next composer, Benjamin Britten. Choral Dances come from Britten's opera 'Gloriana' which was written to celebrate the coronation in 1953. With their tricky rhythms, awkward leaps, tongue twisting words and unexpected harmonies these songs are hard to pull off but Tritone Singers performed them with aplomb. 'Country Girls' sung by the sopranos and altos and the corresponding 'Rustics and Fishermen' by the tenors and basses were particularly successful.
Appropriately for this wet June, the second half began with Elgar's 'As Torrents in Summer', followed by Sullivan's 'The Long Day Closes'. John Rutter's 'Birthday Madrigals' were written to celebrate the 75th birthday of the composer George Shearing and in this the choir was joined by Alison Mosedale on the double bass, adding a touch of swing to the ensemble.
Two movements from Rutter's 'Suite Antique' were beautifully played Siobhan Cosgrove on the flute, ably partnered by Richard Wilkins on the piano.
The concert ended with George Shearing's Songs and Sonnets, jazzy and catchy setting of songs from Shakespeare's plays which sent the audience off humming and well pleased with their evening's entertainment from Tritone Singers.