Fine singing and playing in Hove’s beautiful venue

Sussex Chorus Mostly Brahms Concert

What a change to get a chance to hear some of Brahms and Haydn’s less well-known works, together with an alternative version (played with piano accompaniment) of a standard.

So it was with Sussex Chorus at All Saints Church Hove on November 9.

The setting of Brahms ‘Ein deutsches Requiem’, with four hands, rather than full orchestra, allowed the choir’s tone, clarity and diction to shine through over the sparkle and control of Timothy Nail and Anna Le Hair on the piano.

Michael Bundy’s emotional and heartfelt third movement had real depth drawing a particularly strong and rich accompaniment from the Neil Jenkins conducted choir.

In contrast was Bibi Heal’s almost ethereal and totally sublime rendition of ‘Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit’ with beauty and serenity in the voice.

The first half of the concert gave us a chance to hear the rare gems.

These included a turbulent and effective ‘Storm’, and richly textured extracts from the ‘Neue Liebeslieder’.

In both of these the choir provided great focus and richness of sound appropriate to the two styles.

For me, though, the highlights came from Heal’s renditions of Haydn’s English Canzonets. Her voice had a grace and lightness of touch as good as I’ve heard – her mermaid dazzled in the glassy sea. Equally affecting was Bundy’s interpretation of Brahms’ Four Serious Songs, which oozed with expression and lyricism – the rich deep quality of sound in perfect keeping with the sombre mood.

A fine evening, with some fine singing and playing, in a venue of beauty and fine acoustics.

By Kolya Gardens