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Performances of "St. Paul"…

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Performances of "St. Paul" at Penygraigr. [By Our Musical Critic.] The performances of the first part of Mendelssohn's St. Paul by the Pisgah Choral Society last Thursday and Satur- day brought to one's mind a most success- ful concert given by the same church choir some ten years ago, and under the same conductor, Mr. John Llewellyn. On that occasion, Beethoven's Mount of Olives was given a performance equal to anything that the writer has heard, and the excellent choral singing then heard I has remained a distinct remembrancer to the present day. So it was with the keenest anticipation of a musical treat that I gladly accepted the invitation to attend. Performances of this fine choral work have been given in several parts of the Valley during this season, and, indeed, the singing has been such as to con- clusively prove that the improvement in our choirs has not been confined to one locality, but has. been general. More intelligence is being displayed than for- merly, the performances being more finished. This improvement is, of course, in a great measure due to the conductors, who undoubtedly take the works in hand with an enthusiasm that is contagious. It is a significant fact, too, that the con- ductors of some of the most successful concerts this season have been organists. This does not necessarily mean that one I Mr. JOHN LLEWELLYN, Conductor. I cannot become a good conductor without being able to play skilfully, for it must be remembered that Polta naseitur, non fit," although they require a great deal of "making" afterwards if they are to do anything noteworthy with the baton. But to the performances I The choral singing claims a word of praise, although one heard them on the second evening, when many failed to attend. The male portion especially was fine, equal, in fact, to anything heard this season. The bass had a quality of tone that made it a pleasure to listen to them, and the tenors, although robust, sang splendidly. The weaker sex were also rather weak in numbers. The con- tralto especially so. This seems to be a complaint throughout the Yalleys. Still, they were not often overpowered, and always did what was required of them most creditably. The sopranos were young singers, the majority being hardly out of their teens. A pleasing feature- and one that would have astonished some of our carping English critics—was the way some of the youngest sang through- out without a note of music before them. They undoubtedly have learnt some really good music that hag stuck" to them. Altogether, the choral singing reflects the greatest credit on the conductor, who plainly showed that he possessed a ready command over his resources and a ready command over his work. The artistes were: -Soprano, Miss Carrie Jones, Penygraig; contralto, Mis,s Mary Richards, Rhymney; tenor, Mr. Cynlais Gibbs, London; bass, Mr. David Da vies, Alltwen. The great attraction was Mr. Cynlais Gibbs, who created such a favourable impression at Treorchy during the Christmas festival. A second hearing enables one to confirm what was written then. In Mr. Gibbs we certainly have a singer who is a credit to his country. Such is the good opinion held of him in London circles that he has been engaged to sing at the Caractacus per- formance. at the next National Eisteddfod. His songs in the miscellaneous portion were" Sound an alarm and Lend me your aid," both of which brought forth the undeniable encores. Mr. David Davies came as a stranger1 among us, but he certainly left a good impression behind. In St. Paul he had two good solos^— two distinct types-viz., "Consume them all and" 0 God, have mercy." The latter was his best effort, the tempo of the former being too slow. The voice is a ,splendid one, and intelligently used. This singer will certainly be invited to reappear in the district. The soprano and contralto are too well known to local concert-goers to need much comment. Miss Carrie Jones was in excellent voice, and is a very much improved singer. Her work in the book and in the miscellaneous portion deserves praise. Miss Richards sung the only contralto solo, But the Lord is mindful," in her customary quiet, unassuming manner, and deserved all the applause received at the conclusion. Her choice of solo, Abide with Me," in the miscellaneous portion, deserves commen- dation, as also does her singing of it, but the least said of her encore song the better. It is the type of song that, as a listener tersely put it. is enough to give one the blues." The orchestra was a most, efficient one. ,a Led by Mr. Arthur Angle, Cardiff, they accomplished their work in the most creditable manner. But why were they not down on the programme for a over- ture in the miscellaneous portion, and also to accompany one or two of the artistes ? Mr. D. R. James presided at the grand organ, and played the accompanVents quite satisfactorily in the miscellaneous portion. The chairmen were Drs. Llewellyn and Weichart on Thursday and- Saturday respectively. The audiences were large and enthusiastic, the good work accom- plished being generously applauded. The proceeds are being devoted to the chapel funds, and if the financial success attend- ing the efforts of the committee, of which Mr. D. E. Griffiths was secretary, and Mr. Joseph Jones chairman, be equal to the musical success, then the balance in hand should be a handsome one.

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