A packed audience filled St Peter’s Church, Galashiels on May 12 for Eildon Singer’s varied and colourful Spring Concert programme.
The repertoire was drawn from a wide range of styles and national origins.
The opening items by Hassler and Viadana, both late renaissance composers flourishing in Germany and Italy, were followed by a short mass setting by Michael Haydn (younger brother of Creation composer Josef) and Mozart’s famous motet Ave Verum Corpus. These eminent classical composers spent many years in Salzburg, Austria, and it is recorded that Mozart held Haydn’s work in great esteem.
The concert’s first half finished firmly in the 19th century with beautiful settings of sacred texts by Rossini and Bruckner. Tchaikovsky’s Dostoino est was sung in fluent-sounding Russian!
After the interval wine and canapes (included in the ticket price, a bargain at £8), the second part treated the audience to traditionally inspired songs and instrumental numbers from Hungary, France and Scotland.
Conductor James Young exchanged his baton for a violin and soprano Vivienne Young took up her cello, despite having one of her bow hand fingers in a splint. This talented wife and husband team delighted the audience and choir with their own arrangements of tunes including well-known folk melodies of the Auvergne and others sourced by the Hungarian early 20th century composer Bela Bartok.
The choir excelled in their conductor’s settings of James Oswald’s traditional Scottish songs which was reminiscent of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir and the flavour of the songs recorded some decades ago. Throughout the evening, the singers were supported by James Letham on the keyboard.
Recent research has shown that singing, playing an instrument and listening to different styles of music is highly beneficial to physical and mental health so why not come along and join the singers.
Eildon Singers welcome new members, without audition, on Wednesday evenings at the Ormiston Institute in Melrose. Preparations for the next concert start on August 28. Repertoire includes Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noel. Please contact Choir Secretary Margery Inglis on 01750 20546.