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PATER WARD COMMIT- j TEES.i

PEMBROKE DOCK CHORAL SOCIETY.

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PEMBROKE DOCK CHORAL SOCIETY. FINE PERFORMANCE OF "JrDAS Al-kCCABE U,). VISIT OF MR. LLOYD CIIANDOS. The performance of Handel's fine orato- rio, Judas Maccabeus," by the Pembroke Dock Choral Society will be long remem- bered by those present not only for the musical treat afforded, but also for the weather conditions which prevailed at the time. Snow is comparatively rare in Pembrokeshire, but on Thursday evening those who desired to hear the Choral So- ciety had not only to fight their way through the whirling snowtiaes, but also to tramp through streets ankle deep in snow whilst during the performance the windows were ever and anon lit up with' the blue glare of the lightning. Inside the fine Wesleyan Chapel all was warmth and life-, but when the flashes came one saw the snow-covered roofs gleam dazzling in the brilliant light. But apart from the climatic conditions the performance was one that will not be quickly forgotten. Never have the Choral Society ben heard to better ad- vantage than they were on Thursday, and undoubtedly Judas Maccabeus," full as it is of martial choruses and dramatic ef- fects requiring a powerful choir of robust singers for their proper interpretation, was a composition eminently suited to their capabilttie. The society, too, were very fortunate in their choice of the principals engaged, all four vocalists being heard to n c great advantage, more especially the two gentlemen who both rose to the occasion c magnificently. It is over 23 years ago since Judas Maccabeus was previously rendered in Pembroke Dock, and very few of the pre- sent choir then took part. The perform- ance is stated to have been a fine one, the late Eos Morlais, a famous Welsh tenor of his dav being the most notable artiste engaged, and Mr. Thomas conducted. The last ortatorio performed by the choir was the Messiah," which was given in the Wesley Chapel, two years ago. There was then a very large attendance, but the expenses were heavy, and to the surprise of the officials a loss resulted. On Thursday, probably owing to the weather, Wesley Chapel, which will seat 1,400 per- sons, was not full, there being a number of vacant seats, though nearly all the re- served seats had been booked before the performance. It is hardly necessary to say much with regard to the oratorio itself; Judas Mac- cabeus," though not so well known as the ) Messiah and ElijaYi," yet being one of the most popular ortatorios ever com- posed, and containing many fine passages. By many it is considered as containing some of the finest martial music ever writ- ten. Arm, Arm Ye Brave" and Sound an Alarm being almost unequalled in their particular class, except perhaps by that fine passage, Honour and Arms," from Samson," whilst many of the cho- ruses are most stirring, although perhaps not rising to the sublime grandeur of the Hallelujah chorus in the Messiah." As the name indicates the oratorio deals with the Jewish soldier hero Judas Mac- cabeus, a man whose valour and achieve- ments are looked upon by the Jews almost as the Swedes look upon the exploits of Gustavus Adolphus and the French those of the first Napoleon. The oratorio is divided into three parts. It opens with the lamentations for the death of Matta- thias, the father of Judas Maccabeus, and the oppression of the Jewish people by the Syrians, in his attempt to suppress their religion and liberties. Then Judas steps forward and is recognised leader. He appeals to the patriotism of the people in the rousing Arm, Arm ye Brave," and the response comes in the chorus, We Come in Bright Array." This portion of the oratorio concludes with expressions of trust in God and heroic resolve to con- quer or die. The second portion opens with the celebration of victories gained in various battles, but soon a diversion of the Syrian Army from Egypt cause despon- dency, from which the people are roused by Judas with the famous Sound an Alarm," a song unequalled for its rous- ing power, and swiftly followed by the tu- multuous reply of the populace in the cho- rus "Ve Hear," an inspiring climax. In the third portion are celebrated the trium- phant return of the conqueror which comes to a climax in the magnificent See the Conquering Hero chorus. The oratorio closes with celebrations of peace and na- tional thanksgiving, the martial tone which has characterised the earlier portions of the work being softened to the more mellow and restful tones denoting peace and pro- sperity. The choir as they sat in front of the organ made an imposing appearance. They were about 1.50 strong, and at the back was a juvenile choir of some 120 boys and girls. The orchestra, which consisted chiefly of the band of the 2nd Wilts Regt., occupied a platform in front of the ros- trum. There were about 40 performers, and the leader was Professor T. Hulley, of Swansea. Mr. W. G. Phelps pre- sided at the organ, and h. T. G. Hancock conducted. The artistes were :—Soprano, Miss Cissy Williams, A.R.C.M. contralto, Miss Edith Jago; tenor, Mr. Lloyd Chandos; and bass, Mr. David Hughes, R.A.M. As we said before the rendering of the oratorio was a very fine one. The choir acquitted themselves admirably. They appeared to be exceedingly well balanced", and the basses were particularly fine, whilst the contraltos, who had a lot of arduous work, sang much better than is usually the case in many choirs with good reputations. Very frequently one notices that the con- traltos are either weak or harsh, when the other narts are good, but on Thursday evening the contraltos were really excel- lent. As a matter of fact the whole choir sang in a manner which showed that not only does it contain many fine voices, but also has been very carefully trained. In almost every instance the attack was good, and considering the heavy work in some of the choruses, they gave evidence of much sustaining power, and appeared to sing tirelessly. When the performance com- menced the audience seemed inclined to be apathetic, but tlie rendering of 0 Father whose Almighty Power," roused them, and thereafter neither choir nor artistes could complain of lack of sympathy. The most popular choruses appeared to be Hear j Us, 0 Lord," We Hear," We Come in Bright Array," We Never Will Bow I Down," and See the Conquering Hero." I The last two were especially fine. The children, who opened See the Conquering I Hero," sang very sweetly, and then the choir of ladies came in following, over the whole choir and orchestra united, with magnificent effect. The principals were quite equal to the demands of the oratorio. Miss Cissy Wil- liams, the soprano, hails from Llanelly, and is a daughter of the well known In- spector of Schools. This was her debut on the concert platform, and the manner in which she acquitted herself, and the use she made of a very fine and sweet voice, were fuil of promise for her future success. IVhaps she was heard to best a-dvan!age in From Mighty Kings and Wise Men Flat- tering May Deceive You," but in the due. "0 Lovely Peace," she sang charm- ingly with Miss Jago. Miss Edith Jago, who is a member of the choir, and assisted in some of the choruses, gave a very good account of herself. She had not a great c deal of work to do, but though apparently a trifle nervous when she rose to sing "From Capharsalama," she met with a hearty reception, and gaining confidence sang the solo in a very capable manner. She also worthily upheld her local reputa- tion in duets with Miss Williams and Mr. Lloyd Chandos. Mr. David Hughes, who also hails from Llanelly, was in capital voice. His render- ing of Arm, Arm Ye Brave was very fine, and he well deserved the encore he received for The Lord Worketh Won- dei-s. In fact he did ample justice to all the music entrusted him. Of course great things were expected from Mr. Lloyd Chandos, who has the reputation of being the finest exponent of the tenor parts of this oratorio in the country. After hear- ing him on Thursday, Pembroke Dock folk can quite understand that, and it is safe to say that a finer singer has never been heard in Pembrokeshire. Judas Mac- cabeus is a work which exacts much from the tenor, but also gives a capable man great opportunities. As we said be- fore, Sound an Alarm is a stirring solo, and Mr. Chandos's rendition of it thrilled the audience and was equal to the most sanguine expectations. Not only has this singer a clear and powerful voice, but he enterd into the spirit of the music, and took full advantage of the scope it afforded him. It was hardly to be won- dered that the applause at the close was deafening and sustained, and that the au- dience would not be satisfied until they had heard a portion of the air again. How Yain is Man who Boasts in Fight was another item splendidly rendered and vociferously encored, and in short Mr. Lloyd Chandos established himself once and for ever in the good graces of all pre- sent. It is perhaps hardly jdeasant when one has been freely showering praises to have to find fault in other directions, but truth makes us reluctantly state that theorchestra were rather disappointing at times, and certainly were hardly up to expectations. In the chorus "See the Conquering Hero," one of the trumpeters made a hopeless mess, and though the violinists acquitted themselves well, the brass was anything but perfect. Still in justice it must be said that some of the passages were rend- ered most effectively. Mr. Phelps at the organ was excellent, and altogether the In zn performance is one of which the choir and its clever conductor may reasonably be proud.

PENNAR GUT FATALITY.

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