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HANDEL'S SAMSON.

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HANDEL'S SAMSON. A MERITORIOUS PERFORMANCE. On Wednesday evening Bethlehem Con- gregational Chapel, Rhos, was crowded with an appreciative and expec rHlt audi- ence, the occasion being the fhih annual concert of Bethlehem United Choral So- ciety. The work selected this year- Handel's Oratorio, Samson,was com- posed in the year 1742, and is founded on the Biblical story. Did Handel, when composing this work, have any forebod- ings that he himself would spend the lat- ter part of his life in total blindness ? The poignant emotion expressed in "Total Eclipse," leads one to think that Handel himself must have had some forebodings that to him it would some day be a case of 44 no sun, all dark amidst the blaze of noon It is well known that he spent the last eight years 01 his life in total blindness Life, verily, was not a bed of roses to many of the great musical mas- ters. Think of the mighty Beethoven, en- tirely deaf; the giant Handel blind poor Mozart, neglected, and buried in an un- known pauper's grave when only about 34 years of age To mention only a tew. But what a heritage they left behind them, which to-day the whole world draws upon, and which will live whilst man has breath to sing. The chorus is an exceedingly well-bal- anced body of voices 100 strong. The tone was excellent throughout. The so- pranos were brilliant and pure the con- traltos sweet, although one or two addi- tional voices would enhance the effect; the tenors bright and ringing; and the bass sonorous and rich. The training of the past five years is now plainly to be felt, the brilliant tone, splendid attack and tout ensemble (as the critics say) being excellent. Mr Dan Roberts, A.C,, the painstaking conductor, is to be heartily congratulated upon the success of his la- bours, and the choir upon their past per- formances. Here is their record :—"Cap- tivity," (D Emlyn Evans), Creation," 44 Elijah," (Mendelssohn), 4 Stabat Mater,' (Rossini), 11 Samson," (Handel). Some- thing to be proud of. The fine choruses were sung with verve and power through- out. If we must mention our own fav- ourites, we would select Fixed in his everlasting seat," "Let their celestial concerts," 'Then round about'—but why discriminate when all were so good. The female chorus was marred by a voice of the stern sex persisting in singing with them. Here it was a case of man not wanted. The title role was taken by Mr Gwilym Richards. No doubt Mr Richards has been an excellent singer in his day-some ten to fifteen years ago-but now his voice is beginning to show signs of wear and tear. This of course is inevitable to all singers, They have their day and cease to be." The poignant air, 44 Total Eclipse," in which Samson bewails his blindness was sung with warmth, although the intonation suffered a little It was rather unfortunate that this air comes so early in the work, as Mr Richards improv- ed as he went on, and he would have done better justice to it later on in the work. The duet, Go baffled coward was sung with gusto and spirit, and was most en- joyable. What a pity that Madame Laura Evans Williams had so little to do in the work. There is no need to enlarge upon her vo- cal abilities. It is admitted that she is one of the finest Welsh sopranos on the concert platform, and at Rhos she is al- ways sure of an enthusiastic welcome. I She was in splendid voice, and as the se- ductive and alluring Dalila, was per- feet. Her items were sung with exqui. site purity of tone and artistic feeling. I 4' Let the bright Seraphim was delight- fully rendered, and the trumpet stop on the organ" was skilfully displayed. The contralto had more work to do, and Miss Hannah Morgan sustained her part creditably. Her tone, however, was rather unequal, the break between her up- per and lower register being too marked. Siill in a way this told in her favour in the beautiful air,. H Return, 0 God of Hosts," (one of the gems of the work) for the intense feeling was admirably dis- played, and this peculiar break in her voice added greatly to the effect. The bass part was taken by Mr Arthur Weber, who pleased Rhosites so much with his basso de profundo. As the giant Harapha, he was in his element. -1 His big, ponderous tones doing ample justice I to the part. 44 Honour and Arms was sung with verve, and the low D fairly j captured the fancy of the audience. As j Manoah he was not so happy. The part demanded a mellower voice. This was ] plainly to be felt in How willing my I paternal love." A word of praise is due to Mr John Williams, a member, of the choir for his artistic rendering of the air" Glorious Hero." Bravo, Mr Williams. After all is said about the choir and ert- istes their success would have not been nearly so great if it had not been for the force and personality of the organist, Mr Caradog Roberts, Mus Bac. He was the driving power at the back of all as it were His manipulation of the different stops to I suit every phase of the music was wonder- ful. At one moment we had the plaintive imitation of the turtle cooing, or the trum- pet, as in Let the bright seraphim." Another moment and the full organ in the massive choruses thrilled one through and through and withal everything was dK;ne ¡ in excellent taste. The p aying of the I Dead March was a feature of the even. ing, and the effect will long be remember- ed. By the way, when this item was ren- dered, the choir and artistes arose on their feet. Their example was followed by the chairman, alone in the audience. Of course it is the rule for all to rise when the Dead March is played. Perhaps the audience thought that they would enjoy it much better sitting down, and Rhos, as is quite well known does not always obey the conventionalities. The Mayor of Wrexham, (Councillor J Stanford) presided and delivered a short and suitable address in the interval. The excellent arrangements were in the hands of a committee, of whom Mr E T Williams was the excellent and energetic secretary, and a substantial surplus will no doubt reward his labours. We understand that the next work to be performed will be Mozart's Twelfth Mass.—a splendid choice.

Mr Ormsby Gore on his victory,

WREXHAM

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