Reviews

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“Gloriana & Lilibet”

Celebrating Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday we presented music from the reigns of both Queens Elizabeth
St Mary’s Church, Brighstone – July 1st 2016

We were contacted by Her Majesty’s Office

Click on these thumbnails to read

Message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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Handel’s “Messiah” at St John the Baptist Church, Ryde April 2nd, 2016

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(click on review to read)
Isle of Wight County Press Friday, April 8, 2016

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Christmas Concert at Newport Minster December 12th 2014

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(click on review to read)
Isle of Wight County Press Friday, December 26, 2014

Also from Alastair Laing, but alas unpublished…

“Ryde-ing high” after their successful collaboration with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, the Ryde Chorus treated Newport residents gathered in the Minster last Friday to an uplifting evening of choral classics, folk hymns and readings at the first of their Christmas concerts. This increasingly professional choir, energetically marshalled by Musical Director Philip Fryer, announced a spirit of joy and praise at the start of the programme with a short selection of rousing classics, culminating in an exuberant performance of Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus, which nicely warmed up the audience ready to join in with the carols.

Loosely themed around the idea of the wassail – toasting a health for a prosperous future – the selection of carols and readings were an enjoyable mix of old favourites with some beautiful, lesser-known pieces and the occasional foray into more secular traditions of merriment. Particular highlights included a poignant solo from Katherine Howells to begin “Once in royal”, and a version of “While shepherds watched” sung to an old Methodist setting better known as the Yorkshire anthem, “Ilkla Moor Baht’at”. This was somewhat cheekily followed by a lively paean to the nourishing power of “good ale”, before the final carol, “Hark! the herald angels sing”, returned us all to a pious frame of mind, back with the angels’ hymn of annunciation where we so rousingly began. Alastair Laing

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In Celebration Spring Concert May 17th 2014

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(click on review to read)
Rupert Sheard Isle of Wight County Press Friday, May 23, 2014

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Melodies for midsummer

Jeanette Renouf Isle of Wight County Press Friday, June 28, 2013

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Chorus Tells the Christmas Story

Ryde Chorus’s Christmas tour of Shanklin and Freshwater used the King’s College Twelve Lessons and Carols format.
The evening was very informal and informative and after a shaky start, the choir settled under the guidance of Philip Fryer.
By ‘Rise Up Shepherd’, members had found their true voices and the addition of a competent soloist (Crispin Keith) led to the enjoyment. Other soloists took the roles of the Kings in subsequent carols.
‘Quem Pastores’ gave each section a chance to shine, the dynamics were well handled in ‘O Little One Sweet’ and the drama of the ‘Coventry Carol’ was well brought out.
‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’ was especially good; what a difference it makes when there are no books and heads are lifted high.
The highlight for me was Rachmaninov’s setting of the ‘Ave Maria’, and while I cannot vouch for the pronunciation, there was great breath control and warm low notes from the basses.
Jane Pelham Isle of Wight County Press December 21st 2012

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Jubilee Theme for Choral Concert

Ryde Chorus, ably conducted by Philip Fryer, gave a concert with music from Medelssohn, Parry and Schubert, with soloists Miranda Johnson, Samir Savant and Martin Johnson…
First on the programme was Parry’s ‘I Was Glad’ … this opening number set the tone for the jubilee theme of the concert and the sound of full voice was appreciated by the audience from the start…..Ave Maria was performed in fine style by the tenor solo and choir.
Albinoni’s ‘Concerto VIII Op.7’ for two oboes and strings …. captivating music proceeded with clarity and vivacity…. Schubert’s ‘Mass in G’ was the highlight of the concert, bringing out the ability of the choir to the full and all the soloists showed wonderful interpretation of this emotional work.
The audience showed their wholehearted appreciation of Philip Fryer, the choir, soloists, organist Richard Benger, and orchestra.
Rupert Sheard Isle of Wight County Press June 8th 2012

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Superb Brahms at Hurst

On Saturday the Fletching Singers joined with Ryde Chorus from the Isle of Wight to tackle Brahms’ great choral masterpiece, A German Requiem, in the huge and resonant chapel of Hurstpierpoint College. This is the first time that either choir has ventured into the challenging world of 19th century romanticism, but let us hope it is not the last: Mendelssohn and Elgar beckon. The choirs sang with passion and commitment, shaping Brahms’ phrases with great dynamic and rhythmic control.
The two excellent soloists were Lucinda Houghton (soprano) and Richard Lea (baritone) and the performance was sensitively accompanied by The Fletching Players, led by Martin Cannings; the conductor was Nick Milner-Gulland, and the return fixture in Ryde on April 5th will be conducted by Philip Fryer, director of Ryde Chorus.
from Isle of Wight County Press, May 14th 2004

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Passion Conveyed by Inspired Performance

Composers have to be optimists: for in most cases, between them and their potential listeners stand the performers, with the potential to transform a musical masterpiece into a shambolic bore – witness the fate of Rachmaninov with his first symphony.
When the composer’s inspiration fuses with an inspired performance however, that is the time and place to be. Such was All Saints’ Church in Ryde for last Saturday’s performance of Bach’s St John Passion by the Ryde Chorus, conducted by Philip Fryer and joined by the talented Fletching Singers from Sussex.
They used the new Novello edition by Neil Jenkins, which translates Bach’s German into a less fractured English metre than I encountered when I first sang in this work with our college choir in 1948; and in this performance one could hear the words, helping the listener to appreciate Bach’s marvellous fusion of text and music.
The wealth of talent among the vocal soloists comprised Douglas Lee (bass), Richard Lea (bass), Helen Stanger (soprano), Eleanor Boulter (contralto), David Knight (tenor) and Julian Godlee (bass); but it would not be invidious to mention specially the brilliant singing of Robin Lang (tenor) in the taxing part of the Evangelist: fluent and crystal-clear in the almost clinical detachment of the unfolding narrative; and with an additional bite of drama in such mordant episodes as the lament of Peter after his betrayal of Jesus, and the scourging of Jesus in Pilate’s court.
The harpsichord continuo for the words of the narrative was excellently played by Nick Milner-Gulland (musical director of the Fletching Singers), as was the chamber organ continuo for the words of Jesus, by Andrew Cooper – the maker of the instrument as well as its player.
May I finish briefly with two commendables out of many: the limpid balance of choir chorale, bass soloist and orchestra in the reflective movement immediately following the death of Jesus – two sets of words in a kind of stereo, yet each perceptible; secondly the careful production of the excellent concert programmes.
The audience was even provided with words and music to join in four of the chorales – but we were mostly mute: the performers were singing on our behalf.
The orchestra leader was Kirstie Robertson.
Jack Jones

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Christmas Carol Concert, Merrily on High…

…certainly lived up to its billing. (Isle of Wight County Press)

St Saviour’s Church in Shanklin was packed as the audience enjoyed a traditional programme of familiar and lesser-known carols from Ryde Chorus.
Under musical director, Philip Fryer and with Arthur Firth accompanying at both organ and piano, it was a festive occasion in which everyone enjoyed making music together.
Medieval period works by Dunstable, Praetorius and the ubiquitous Anon were contrasted with present-day carols by Andrew Carter and John Rutter.
Elizabeth Poston’s lovely Jesus Christ the Apple Tree saw some impressive unison singing from the sopranos, while the syncopation of Carter’s Jesus Child held no rhythmic problems for this accomplished choir.
There were short readings by Peter Brand, Marianne Johnson and Maurice Bridgeland.
The mince pies and wine in the interval served to enhance the spirit of the season in this joyous carolling.