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Choral Performances atI Noddfa,…

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Choral Performances at I Noddfa, Treorchy. In the pages of the future historian of musical progress in the Rhondda Valley, the achievements of the Noddfa (Treorchy) Choral Society will loom large. This is its seventh season, and as each Yuletide I arrives to give the crown of perform- ance to a year's arduous preparation, it is gratifying; to note that the Society thoroughly lives up to its motto" Pro- gress." Eisteddfodic achievements are admirable in their way, and enterprising undertakings by a "scratch" party beyond the herring pond (duly boomed by a fulsome press) less so, but for real musical zeal and devotion to Art for Mr. W. P. THOMAS, D.O. I Art's sake," commend us to-the pioneers of the Noddfa. Choral Society. Originally founded by Mr. Win. Thomas, conductor of the deservedly renowned Royal Male Choir Mr. W. P. Thomas, District Coun- cillor and Mr. John Samuel, it has flourished apace, and now occupies a I unique position amongst South Wales choirs, seeking not financial benefits, but the provision of high-class treats for the people. Mr. Win. Thomas has latterly felt unequal to the strain of continued choral training, but his mantle has worthily fallen upon the shoulders of Mr. J. T. Jones, L.R.A.M., a young man of Mi-, J. T. JONES, L.R.A.M. -0 I ability (and a product of Treorchy), and iganist at Noddfa Chapel. Mr. Jones is aeioted to musical study, and literally throws tremendous energy into his work as conductor. He has made great pro- gies.s' duimg tj.ie last two years, which, if maintained, will bring him to the front rank of Welsh musical conductors. The programme for the present occasion was an ambitious one, the works performed being Light of Life" (Sir Edward Mr. E. T. MICHAEL. I Mr. E. T. MIOHAEL. E,Igai-7 on Christmas evening, The Redemption" (Gounod) on Thursday afternoon, and The Hymn of Praise" (Mendelssohn) and Dies Ira?(Cheru- bini) on Thursday evening. In addition, there were miscellaneous parts added to the programme on Christmas and Boxing Day evenings, comprising rsolos and quar- tets by the artistes. The following eminent singers were the principals: Madame Bertha Rossow (soprano), Miss Maria Yelland '(contralto), Mr. Albert Pike (tenor), and Mr. Robert Burnett (baritone). Mr. Alfred Heather was the only original choice as tenor, and he was duly "billed" to appear, but indisposi- tion prevented him fulfilling the engage- ment, and he sent Mr. Pike as his deputy. A select and full orchestra was engaged, under the leadership of Mr. Gomer Jones, R.C.M. Ml. Tom Davies and Mr. J. T. Jones presided at the grand organ. There was a, large attendance at the first per- formance on Christmas night, the pro- gramme opening with an orchestral suite, March to Calvary (Gounod). Madame Bertha Rossow followed with a song, "The Soul's Awakening" (Haddock), and had a rousing reception. Mr. Robert Burnett's song, Thou'rt passing hence (Sullivan), was magnificently given, the climax in the final lines being treated with admirable dramatic conception and power. Mr. Tom Jones' violin .solo'from Beethoven was an enjoyable item, and fully justified his reputation. The audience were not slow to recognise the genius which trans- formed a collier-lad into an expert in English orchestral circles. The rendering of The Lost Chord by Miss Maria Yelland evoked the most rapturous applause of the evening. Her fine pre- sence and admirable posing, her voice of singular beauty and power, organ-like and I perfect-toned, fairly enthralled the audi- ence. The oft-heard and almost hackneyed air opened new vistas of fresh and delight- ful thoughts under her treatment, and I susrgesteu beautiful spiritual truths never dreamt of before. The encore which inevitably followed was a glowing tribute to the artiste, but perhaps a, memory of the first magnetic rendering alone would have been preferable. Mr. Albert Pike followed with a correct and pleasing per- formance of "Lend me your aid," and the miscellaneous part closed with the SInging of* a quartet by the four artist", God is a Spirit. The remainder of the evening was occupied with the perform- ance of .Light of Life." Much interest was displayed as to how the choir would acquit itself. The males opened in rather uncertain fashion, the intonation being rather cloudy, in the chorus, Seek Him," but later, in the chorus, "Light out of Darkness," the choir came into its own, the fortissimo passages being given with thrilling power. Afterwards the work proceeded without a hitch, the tenor, upon whom devolved the greater share of solo work, doing his part in meritorious fashion. The rendering of the final chorus, Light of the World," was a fit- ting conclusion to a splendid evening's work. On Boxing Day afternoon there was a large and select. audience to hear Gounod's Redemption." Local conductors of music were present in force, and there were several musicians of note, who had travelled from Cardiff, Swansea, and other districts. The Redemption is a diffi- cult work, and contains much noble har- mony, breathing a devotional spirit pecu- liarly its own. The orchestration is on broad lines and of considerable scope, and it received full justice at the hands of Mr. Gomer Jones and his players. The artistes ju their work most creditably, although it was apparent in one or two instances that the tenor was handicapped by the shortness of the notice he had received for preparation. Madame Roesow performed the solo, Ye Mountains," in a thrilling manner, and Mr. Burnett's dramatic intensity was a feature of the performance. The choir was irresistible in its magnificent renderings of the choruses, Unfold and The Hymn of the Apostles," and fully deserved the tumultuous applause of the audience. Mr. Jones' complete mastery of the score and command of baton was a notable factor in their success. The high-water-mark of the concerts Mr. JOHN SAMUEL. was reached on Thursday evening. The sacred edifice was packed in all parts many being turned away at the tioors^ failing to secure entrance. Possibly such a full house" inspired the choir and artistes, for the singing throughout was of a quality never before equalled in the Rhonddas. A miscellaneous part was again submitted, perhaps the most in- teresting feature being the performance of a Concert Overture in A by the orches- tra, composed by Mr. Hugh Hughes, Tïe- herbert. Mr. Hughes himself conducted, and had a very flattering reception from the audience. Miss Maria Yelland sang Christmas Bells (Liddle), and Mr. Robert Burnett 0 Divine Redeemer" (Gounod). Mr. Burnett appeared to great advantage in this song, infusing a depth of dramatic feeling into the ren- dering which made it an artistic triumph. Madame Rossow sang a difficult solo, From Mighty Kings," in excellent style. The choir contributed the chorus, Dies Irse (Cherubini), and did full justice to a, difficult theme. Each voice-part had been thoroughly mastered, the sopranos, if anything, excelling in purity of tone and power of attack. The soft passages were given with admirable restraint, and each idea was worked to its climax in thrilling fashion. The conductor deserves every praise for the splendid control he exhibited over the parts, and they re- sponded to his baton in a manner which made the rendering grandly effective. The "Hymn of Praise" was the fitting climax to the series of concerts. Prin- cipals and choir were in their best form, and the magnificent renditions of The night is departing" and "Ye Nations," in particular, will not soon fade from the memory. The ease and accented pre- cision of the rendering of All ye that cried unto the Lord also reflected care- ful training. We congratulate the Noddfa Choral Society Committee upon such a success- ful issue to their year's work and deliberations. With Mr. W. P. Thomas and his trusty henchman, Mr. E. T. Michael, at the secretarial helm, success is always more than half assured. Long may the Noddfa Choral Society flourish and Treorchy be the Mecca of all South Wales music-lovers during joyous Christ- mastide.

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