REVIEW: Hope and beauty at fundraising concert in St Wilfrid’s Church

Performers at St Wilfrids Church
Performers at St Wilfrids Church

Music and Poetry for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, St Wilfrid’s Church, Haywards Heath, November 12

This sparkling concert, full of light, hope and beauty for asylum seekers, refugees, and Brighton’s Voices in Exile charity, who assist them, penetrated a dank November night.

It came just days after ‘the land of the free’ had voted for a Mexican border wall.

The appreciative audience gave generously, responding to stirring chamber music-making, spirit-raising solos by Jane Storey (alto) and Roger Floyd (baritone) and impassioned and humorous poetry readings.

They left, confident of the power of positive action over man-made misery, with the bright voices of St Wilfrid’s choir, in Bob Chilcott’s lilting, cheerfully trusting ‘Be thou my vision’ ringing in their ears.

The now unfashionable Paul Hindemith’s sonata for flute (Alison Letschka) and piano (Andrew Storey) has a sometimes discordant slow pastoral movement: wistful possibilities overcoming harsh realities. Its suggestion of a costly victory set the mood after the sunlit autumnal leaves of Mozart’s trio K498 (with Gillian Ferguson, viola, and Tony Donovan, clarinet) had dispelled the dark drizzle outside.

At Remembrance time we were reminded too how youth overcomes fear and intolerance.

Promising violinists Edward Storey, in Burowski’s ‘Adoration’, and Imogen Ferguson, in Svendsen’s ‘Romance’, enchanted the audience with these demanding, affirmative pieces.

John Kay’s jaunty piano duets of Brahms’ waltzes and Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Heart and Soul’, played by Andrew Storey and himself, got us ready for night riding just after we’d learned from Edward Lear (amusingly read by Joy Madgwick) what not to wear.

Definitely not long faces!

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