Review: The Phoenix Singers delights audience at St Chad’s Church Shrewsbury 26.11.2016

The Phoenix Singers of Shrewsbury, have a long history of good performance and last night’s concert at St Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury under the direction of Richard Walker was no exception. The Phoenix Orchestra lead by Paul Bramwell matched well the 40 strong choir and the accompaniment balanced at all times.

Haydn’s great chorus Insanae et Vanae Curae assures an incisive start and the moods of disquiet and serenity lie alternately.  We heard immediately the sensitive phrasing of both singers and orchestra which was to be the hallmark of the evening.  These two special passages are some of my favourite in all music and they have to be right!

Benjamin Britten was conveniently born on St. Cecilia’s Day, 22nd November.     Hymn to St. Cecilia has a lovely benign opening with succeeding refrains which belie the difficulties elsewhere, requiring high vocal skills in terms of intonation, breath control and diction.   The choir proved up to this as did the four soloists within the choir, each portraying a different instrument.

Endearing was Purcell’s Coronation verse anthem My Heart is Inditing. Delights of Purcell include his unexpected and attractive twists of harmony which the choir negotiated with consummate ease.

The highlight of the evening was Haydn’s late Maria Theresa Mass in which the Phoenix Singers were joined by four excellent professional soloists, Natalie Clifton-Griffith, Imogen Garner, Ian Yemm and Richard Moore.   The whole performance of this work exuded enthusiasm and confidence.   The final movement Agnus Dei is not normally the most exuberant part of the liturgy, but here Haydn seems be smiling at the thought of a job well done!  I hope all performers in this concert felt the same way because we the audience had a delightful evening.

Reviewer                                                                       Michael Davey

​About Phoenix Singers of Shrewsbury

  • The Phoenix Singers were founded in 1965 and Richard Walker will be celebrating his 5th anniversary as conductor in January 2017.
  • The choir sings all the main choral repertoire but has also gained a reputation for innovative programming and commissioning new work from well-known composers
  • Next year both concert dates for diary include 25th March and 6th October 2017 at St Chad’s Church Shrewsbury.
  • Also we are singing a “Come and Sing” Mozart’s Requiem at Chirbury Church
  • See for more information.
  • For more information contact Connie Drinkwater Publicity Officer email:  [email protected]