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Stainer's Crucifixion          

1 April 2023

St Teilo's Church, Llandeilo

Andrew Douglas-Forbes (tenor)

Richard Whitehead (bass)

Wyn Turner (organist)

Conducted by Colin New

A Passiontide meditation for choir, including five well-known hymns including 'God so loved the world', with a selection of contemporary pieces

Review quotes:

'A big thank you for having me in Cantorion Llandeilo Singers'

'Last night was a brilliant experience for me.  My partner in the congregation was absolutely thrilled'

'It was very moving and memorable, and a privilege to be part of it, so thank you'

'The organist was amazing'

'I certainly also found it a very moving programme'

Messiah          

19 November 2022

Haigee Lee (soprano)

Flora York-Skinner (mezzo-soprano)

Robyn Lyn Evans (tenor)

Trevor Eliot Bowes (bass)

William Reynolds (organist)

Conducted by Colin New

‘MESSIAH’ BEYOND THE LOCKDOWN

Doug Constable

As we know to our collective cost, during the recent Covid lockdowns choral singing was prohibited, and maintaining the life of choirs was difficult. For Cantorion Llandeilo Singers, not knowing exactly when they would be able to mount a performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ tested their rehearsal staying-power; but we who heard them in St Teilo’s Church on 19th November bear witness that they came through with flying colours. Performances of ‘Messiah’ vary in both character and quality, and we heard a memorably fresh presentation of this rich sequence of arias and recitatives. Fronted by a quartet of fine soloists, and accompanied by a ‘chamber’ orchestra of eleven players and William Reynolds’ sensitive organ continuo, the choir, trained and conducted for the first time by Colin New, fully satisfied the spiritual and aesthetic hunger of the audience in the almost full church.

 

Credit must go, first, to the conductor, who at all times clearly communicated his understanding of how the music should sound; under his direction, the diverse elements of the oratorio hung together as a coherent whole. It was gratifying that the soloists and conductor were sensitive to each other in minute detail; each and all contributed to a welcome sense of ensemble/team-work. Haegee Lee, an agile high soprano, was in her element in Rejoice greatly, and she delivered a particularly moving I know that my Redeemer liveth. Flora York Skinner, a mezzo-soprano who has several times sung with this choir, brightened spirits with her telling of glad tidings to Zion. (I wonder, though, if the dramatic impact of the sudden switch in mood at Behold, a virgin shall conceive was less than it might have been if, instead of the mezzo, the bass soloist had sung But who may abide). I was particularly moved by Flora’s and Hagee’s conveying of He shall feed his flock and Come unto me, all ye that labour. Tenor Robyn Lyn Evans, who has also sung several times with this choir and whose voice and delivery has wonderfully matured over the period, compelled attention from his very first entry Comfort ye, my people. For me, his rendition of the Passion recitatives from Thy rebuke hath broken his heart through to the spring-like resurrection aria But thou didst not leave his soul in hell was an undoubted highlight of an evening that had no lowlights. A newcomer to Llandeilo, specially sought-out bass Trevor Eliot Bowes, brought expressive gravitas to his pieces, but in my view his stand-out performance was The trumpet shall sound. Bowes and trumpet soloist Jonathan Mainwaring combined marvellously: while the high trumpet dominated, the bass solo, not attempting to ‘compete’, yet came through strongly with a joyful message of encouragement … we shall be raised.

Special tribute must be paid to the choristers, whose disciplined response to their new conductor clearly showed. The togetherness was palpable, and any lapses in confidence were too few to mention. If one were to ask for more, it would be for more ‘body’ in the sopranos, and clearer verbal articulation. Collectively, a little more expressive colour would have been good in ‘lighter’ pieces such as His yoke is easy; with more time (or less lockdown!) to prepare, that slight deficiency would no doubt have been addressed. That said, the overall balance and quality of the sound was very pleasing; and particular mention must be made of the fine sound of men’s voices in Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen Chorus.

 

The next performance by Cantorion Llandeilo Singers is to be of John Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion’, a less demanding work than ‘Messiah’. But therein lies a challenge: not to compromise on the high musical standards necessarily achieved for this recent performance, whilst keeping a clear spiritual focus in the task ahead.

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Over £4000 was donated to Tenovus Cancer Care & Cancer Research Wales from 

 

       Puccini Messa di Gloria              

Sullivan Festival Te Deum

 

performed on Saturday, 19 October 2019 at St Mary's Collegiate Church, 11A St Mary's Square, Swansea 

South-West Wales Choral Collective of 90 singers comprising Cantorion Llandeilo Singers together with choristers from other choirs in Swansea and Carmarthenshire.

Robyn Lyn Evans (tenor)  

Robert Glyndwr Garland (bass baritone)   

Haegee Lee (soprano)

West Wales Concert Orchestra  

Sophie Silverstone (leader)

Conducted by Gordon Kilby

‘Nessun dorma’ – ‘None shall sleep’: the last composition of Giacomo Puccini was the final offering at a rousing concert given in St Mary’s Collegiate Church, Swansea, on 19 October by the West Wales Choral  Collective, the West Wales Concert Orchestra, organist William Reynolds, soloists Haegee Lee (soprano), Robyn Lyn Evans (tenor), Robert Glyndwr Garland (bass-baritone), and conductor Gordon Kilby. At the end the audience’s prolonged applause told its own story: some at least would be savouring the memory of this happy occasion well into the night.

 

Prior to that closing aria, Haegee Lee touched hearts with her unaffected ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ (O My Beloved Father). These solos (a present, surely, to the choir as well as to the audience) followed the main act, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria.

 

...Overall, the singers’ long weeks of preparation paid off handsomely; it was an uplifting performance, in which tribute should also be paid both to the fine orchestra led by Sophie Silverstone, whose parts could be heard with exemplary clarity, and to the forthright but sensitive singing of Evans and Garland. [Puccini: Messa di Gloria]   

 

...A sense of high occasion is called for, and the choir rose to it admirably. From the very start, members of the audience will have known they’d come to an out-of-the ordinary presentation.  [Sullivan: Festival Te Deum]

(from a review by Doug Constable)

Saturday, 23 February 2019

St Teilo's Church, Llandeilo

Duruflé Requiem

Fauré Requiem

Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine

Memorial concert for Tom Williams

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Helen Pugh (soprano)

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Robert Glyndŵr Garland (baritone)

On 23 February performers and audiences in St Teilo’s Church united in remembering Tom Williams, a founder member of the choir now known as Cantorion Llandeilo, while performances of the Requiems of Maurice Duruflé and Gabriel Fauré were given, together with the Nunc Dimittis of Geoffrey Burgon and Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine.

... From the flowing ‘Requiem aeternam’ that begins the work (Durufle), one felt that they had a secure hold on the notes and a feeling for austere monastic worship that inspired this work; an impression confirmed as the Requiem ‘s nine sections progressed.... With extraordinary sensitivity William Reynolds made the sophisticated organ accompaniment sound effortless. Robert Glyndŵr Garland’s baritone solos in ‘Domine Jesu Christe’ and ‘Libera me’ were marked by warm tone and great breath control. Mezzo-soprano Flora York Skinner and cellist Kirsten Miller together brought a beautifully assured serenity to ‘Pie Jesu’, the prayer at the heart of the work.

(from a review by Doug Constable)

Rutter Magnificat and Lauridsen Lux Aeterna        28 April 2018

in aid of Kidney Wales Foundation and Shelter Cymru

Helen Pugh (soprano)

 

Band Baroc Tywi Chamber Orchestra

 

Simmi Singh (leader)

Conducted by Gordon Kilby

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A Supper Concert with Aled and Eleri Edwards and friends  

6 October 2018

at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr

Carmarthenshire's singing celebrities Aled and Eleri Edwards performed much-loved songs from a variety of eras, with solos from Eleri's students at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr. The Singers added songs by Leonard Bernstein and Robat Arwyn.

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Eleri and Aled

from left: Owain Rowlands (baritone), Non Roberts (soprano), Eleri Edwards, Bethan Evans (soprano) and Aled Edwards

Christmas Charity Concert           23 December 2017

in aid of Kidney Wales Foundation and Shelter Cymru

Helen Pugh (soprano)

Aled Edwards (baritone)

Owain Rowlands (tenor)

Peter Eyre and Katie Gibson (recorders)

Band Baroc Tywi

Rakhi Singh (principal violinist)

Conducted by Gordon Kilby

Owain Rowlands

Aled Edwards, Helen Pugh, and Gordon Kilby with Cantorion Llandeilo Singers

Photo: Andrew Richards

Gilbert and Sullivan : The Pirates of Penzance          14 October 2017
in a concert performance with the participation of Uplands Arts, Swansea

Mabel : Bronwen Beckett
Frederic : Dean Ward

Major-General Stanley : Adrian Williams

The Pirate King : Simon John

Edith : Catrin Eluned Jones

Kate : Amy Hart

Ruth : Leah Collett

Conducted by Gordon Kilby

Ffairfach's smart new school Ysgol Bro Dinefwr provided an excellent venue for Pirates of Penzance.

Brahms : A German Requiem                           20 May 2017

Brahms : Hungarian Dances

Schumann : Piano Duets

David Nettle and Richard Markham (piano duo)

Helen Massey (soprano)

Arshak Kuzikyan (bass-baritone)

Gordon Kilby, conductor

Photo: Andrew Richards

In aid of Wales Air Ambulance and The Firefighters' Charity
'Brahms's German Requiem is in the premier league of large-scale choral works, and Cantorion Llandeilo Singers rose admirably to the challenges . . . singing the German text . . . with evident care for its scriptural words . . . with a palpable sense of collective musical conviction. The excellent professional soloists . . . were . . . both singers of shining artistry . . . There were moments when their [Nettle and Markham] virtuosic technique in the quietest playing, coupled with masterful dynamic contrasts, set goose-pimples rippling! . . . the discerning audience rewarded all the performers with a well-deserved standing ovation.'  Doug Constable, 21 May 2017.                           
Vivaldi by Candlelight     14 January 2017
Magnificat  and  Gloria  and  Concerto for two recorders and strings

in support of Wales Air Ambulance and The Fire Fighters Charity

 

Helen Pugh soprano

Ffion Hâf mezzo-soprano

Peter Eyre and Katie Gibson recorders

Band Baroc Tywi (leader: Rakhi Singh)

conducted by Gordon Kilby

at the newly repaired and regenerated All Saints Church, Ammanford, SA18 2NR.

 

 

'A substantially home-grown ensemble of accomplished players, led by Ammanford's own Rakhi Singh, succeeded in capturing

​the spirit of the seventeenth-century Venetian Ospidale della Pieta . . . The beautiful voices of local soprano Helen Pugh and

contralto Ffion Hâf rendered solos and duets of deep personal conviction along with poised musicality.'  Norma Lord

In the Mood    22 October 2016

 

Classic popular songs from the 1930s to 1950s - 'Ain't misbehaving', 'Autumn Leaves', 'Blue Moon'

'Smoke gets in your eyes', and much more.

A joint venture with the Band Tref Llandeilo Town Band.  It was a sell-out!

Gordon Kilby (left) conductor, Cantorion Llandeilo Singers, and John Morgan, leader of Band Tref Llandeilo Town Band

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle and the William Tell Overture   23 April 2016

International pianists David Nettle & Richard Markham and their rare 1928 Pleyel Double Piano

Helen Massey   soprano   Flora York Skinner  mezzo-soprano   Trystan Llyr Griffiths   tenor

Bongani Justice Kubheka bass-baritone   Richard Whitehead  American reed organ  

Gordon Kilby   conductor

'That was a tremendous virtuoso performance to a packed house!'

'Cantorion Llandeilo Singers demonstrated leaps of progress in size and confidence.'

'Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle is an ambitious work for an amateur choir, even when buttressed by such polished soloists and accompanists.'

'Conductor/Mayor Gordon Kilby is creating a social, as well as a musical phenomenon in the town.'

'The four soloists blended beautifully when singing together, and filled St Teilo's church with joy and pathos in their solos.'

'Nettle & Markham's William Tell Overture was stunning in its virtuosity, holding the audience spellbound.'

'Richard Whitehead's expert accompaniment on the American reed organ sang throughout the punchy fortissimo of the pianos.'

The Mayor's Christmas Charity Concert     12 December 2015

Atgof o’r Sêr    Robat Arwyn

Fantasia on Christmas Carols  Vaughan Williams

Angels' Carol  John Rutter   

 

Helen Pugh (soprano)   Aled Edwards (baritone)  Gordon Kilby (conductor)

 

 

'A concert of lovely Christmas music. Congratulations!!' - John Davies, Llandybie

'The choir . . . finished with almost tangibly emotional power.  This was a delightful evening.' - Norma Lord, Nantgaredig

Summer Concert    27 June 2015

An evening of hilarious songs based on old favourite tunes such as ‘Orpheus in the Underground', ‘Take it from Figure “O”', the ‘Three-minute Messiah', and a Mozart horn concerto as you've never heard it before – except from Flanders and Swann. The singers hadn't forgotten their long association with Gilbert and Sullivan either, and included a token piece with a rather different twist. Think Sullivan, Mozart, Offenbach, and Handel – and then think again. ‘Diverse, serendipitous, demanding and sometimes bizarre', said one reviewer of these humorous pieces.

   

 

 

 

Spring Concert    21 March 2015

Mozart 'Recordare', Coronation Mass; Vivaldi Gloria and concerto for two recorders

Review by Norma Lord:

 

Membership of Cantorion Llandeilo Singers has continued to grow since its inaugural concert, with the increased audiences suggesting that conductor Gordon Kilby’s leadership and programming are tapping into a rich vein of music appreciation in the district.

   Three professionally trained recorder players and an internationally acclaimed tenor sing with the choir, and the concert in St Teilo’s Church on 21 March 2015 made good use of these assets. The Vivaldi concerto for two recorders was played by Peter Eyre and Katie Gibson. The always generous acoustic of St Teilo’s set off this baroque gem perfectly and the music’s powerful charm appeared to affect many listeners unexpectedly deeply.

   Vivaldi’s Gloria in D seemed to blossom from the very fabric of the church. The delightful balance between the forty-plus singers and the bijou chamber orchestra allowed us to hear every nuance sung and played. There were occasional flaws but even the restarting of the wonderful cello/oboe passage at the beginning of the ‘Domine Deus’ could not rob the performance of its lustre. Soprano Helen Massey and mezzo-soprano Flora York-Skinner sang the solos securely and with great sensitivity to their environment, seemingly inspiring an uplifting of tone in the choral sopranos whose voices complemented each other well.

   Llandeilo tenor Andrew Douglas-Forbes and bass-baritone Steffan Jones joined in for a spirited performance of the quartet ‘Recordare’ from Mozart’s Requiem, robustly accompanied by the orchestra which included several familiar local musicians and teachers, students (two at least still at school), and one or two eminent ‘gurus’− long-standing luminaries of musical life. It was a privilege to witness the way this ensemble coalesced into a musical unit, leading and nurturing the well-coached singers to create a moving performance of the main work of the evening − Mozart’s Mass in C or ‘Coronation Mass’. The combined efforts of choir, soloists, and orchestra made this an evening to treasure.

   

 

 

 

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