Audience Comments

Vaughan Williams: An Oxford Elegy & Mozart: Mass in C Minor
Snape Maltings
5th May 2018

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“Perfect music for an early summer’s evening. We relished the symbiotic relationship of choir and orchestra combined in the swell of Mozart to the sensual pleasure of Vaughan Williams. The latter providing the musical, rural context for Matthew Arnold’s stirring poetry.”
Viv Dawson

“Another superb concert in the stunning surroundings at Snape Maltings.The Mozart was beautiful, as expected, but the Vaughan Williams took me completely by surprise. It was mesmerising. Like nothing I’ve heard before. Remarkable.”
Mike Barnard

“In Vaughan Williams’ An Oxford Elegy, the conductor Richard Cooke was clearly at ease with the music and performers; he achieved a fine balance between the University of Essex Choir and London Mozart Players, and brought the very best out of the choir.”
Andrew Fraser

Duruflé: Requiem & Mozart: Mass in C Minor
Snape Maltings
3rd February 2018

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“What a perfect evening yesterday. You guys sang your hearts out giving it both wellie and great sensitivity. The whole program was a treat and the Duruflé in particular so very special and moving. You must be thrilled to be part of such a talented choir; Richard Cooke clearly world class. It takes a particular relationship between conductor and musicians to create such powerful emotion and togetherness. The soloists were also very moving. I’m booking for the Mozart in May and it seems will become a follower of UEC. Hope to see you again soon and good luck with that wonderful Choir. It must lift your spirits to the highest pinnacle.”
Isabel Courtenay

Orff: Carmina Burana
Ivor Crewe lecture Hall, University of Essex
7th March 2015

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“Well done for last night’s concert. A really spirited and engaging performance. The whole choir sounded good, but I thought the young sopranos were particularly effective as “boys”. And the percussion accompaniment was tremendous. It was a pleasure to be in the audience.”
Lucy Robinson

“What a great concert! Only being familiar with ‘Oh fortuna’ I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the full work, but it was really wonderful. And having the Rachmaninov in the middle was the perfect breathing space. If it was an enjoyable for the brilliant choir as it seemed to be (it certainly was for the audience) then it was really a great success.”
Moira Collett

“​I think all three soloists were really good. I also thought the percussion was great, but the cymbals were a bit loud! The choir seemed really organised – they sang very well together as a group. My dad really liked it – he also loved the percussion.”
Maisy (aged 10)

“My favourite soloist was the baritone – the one with the curly hair! It was really funny when he came out dressed as the Abbot. I also think the young girls who sang the razzazzi sounded very experienced and professional. Afterwards my dad said he thought it was brilliant and he would like to hear the choir again.”
Hannah (aged 10)

“​ I feel it’s imperative that I should echo the resounding ‘Bravo!’ which came from the back of the auditorium at the end of last Saturday’s performance. What a superb evening, one I shall remember for a long time….All expectations were surpassed with a fantastic performance from the choir and the soloists (interesting to hear a counter-tenor sing the alto part), the percussionist ensemble,
and the virtuoso pianists! Wow! I practically levitated with delight at their rendering of the Rachmaninov Romance and Tarantella.
Thank you so much.”

Christine Rowley

Monteverdi: Vespers 1610
Chelmsford Cathedral
31st January 2015

“What an astonishing performance last night! In places, just heart-stopping. I hope, sitting in the choir, you were able to appreciate the stunned silences at the end of some of the big set pieces, when the entire audience was listening with such rapt attention it almost hurt. And the final Magnificat was – well, magnificent! Isn’t it strange that, having given us an extended and highly dramatic ‘Gloria’, Monteverdi chooses to end the entire piece with such a brief, almost perfunctory ‘Amen’?

I do wish the Choir would issue a CD of their performance! I would buy it instantly, to add to my collection. True, I already own four different recordings of the work – but last night’s rendering was better than any of them! “
Professor Peter Vergo

Britten: War Requiem
Snape Maltings
3rd May 2014

“What a wonderful performance! And so many wonderful things to remember. Most powerful of all – emotionally quite shattering – the perfectly judged and superbly controlled build up to the cataclysmic ‘ … et amara valde’. But the choir was equally superb in the ‘Lachrymosa’: this simply doesn’t work unless the intonation is absolutely spot on. It was! And where did they get those wonderful brass players from? The trumpets, in particular: I shall never forget the opening of the ‘Dies Irae’, with its successive climaxes. I was in tears in several places, although that also had to do with the poetry, of course. (‘Reach at that arrogance that needs thy harm …’) When will they ever learn …?”
Professor Peter Vergo

“Last night I was privileged to attend a performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’. As a non-technical fan of all forms of classical music modern and ancient, I had been listening recently to a number of Britten’s works in preparation for this landmark occasion: e.g. The Turn of the Screw, Death in Venice, the three String Quartets, Cello Symphony … and to the War Requiem itself at least three times on the day before last night’s live concert: music that, for me, rests upon the uniquely optimal cusp of the modernistic and the melodic, of stirring inspiration and anguished humility. My reaction to the truly stunning performance by the gathered forces even exceeded my cumulative expectations, further enhanced, as it was, by the acoustically and atmospherically perfect Snape Maltings concert hall setting. In fact, I would emphatically judge the whole event to be my most fulfilling musical experience during 66 years on this planet: a studied statement of sentiment within me not just for today but also for this year of memorial and onward.”
DF Lewis

“On a vraiment apprécié le concert; on ne connaissait pas le War Requiem et on a trouvé la musique extrêmement créative et l’interprétation magistrale. Bravo! En plus, le lieu est tellement beau …”
Corinne Girard

“Congratulations on a wonderful production of Britten’s War Requiem last evening. It was truly magnificent and extremely moving.”
Teresa Morris

Mozart: Coronation Mass
Handel: Coronation Anthems
Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks
Charter Hall, Colchester
1st February 2014

“Many thanks for inviting me to the wonderful concert last evening at Charter Hall. I greatly enjoyed the occasion. Please convey to all concerned my appreciation. I am very impressed with the University of Essex Choir.
Sir Bob Russell MP

“The Coronation Anthems by Handel are wonderfully inventive and uplifting works, which Richard Cooke tackled at a genuinely Baroque pace and the choir sang with precision and energy. The Charter Hall is a hard space to fill with sound – but they did! And the Mozart ‘Coronation Mass’ was sung with the emotional intimacy which Mozart embodies, despite the choir being on the large side for such a work. Really impressive! The War Requiem is a demanding work, but this choir should be ideal for the work and you should look forward to it.”
Bernard Jenkin MP
(Choral Exhibitioner, Corpus Christi, Cambridge: 1979-82)

audience comments