From the soaring opening notes and exquisite harmonies of Henry Purcell’s ‘Hear my Prayer’ it was evident that this was going to be a very special concert. London-based Pegasus Chamber Choir has been a welcome visitor to Tilford Bach Society events since 2004 and in that time has gone from strength to strength, gaining international recognition. Last Saturday’s concert at St Andrews Church gave Farnham people an opportunity to hear the wide range of choral music that Pegasus will present at an international competition in France next month.
Besides their immaculate precision and expressive qualities the choir demonstrated an amazing ability to ‘tune in’ to some very different national styles, producing a bewitching French effect in the bleak and wintry ‘Bois Meurtri’ by Poulenc and lively ethnic arrangements of three folk songs by Debussy. But most impressive was the extract from Rachmaninov’s ‘Vespers’ when Pegasus transformed itself into an authentic Russian Orthodox choir with an impressively sonorous alto solo and those spine-shivering deep bass notes that few non-Russians are able to achieve.
The programme included some technically-demanding modern works as well, including a spirited version of part of the Song of Solomon written for the choir by Francis Grier, a great admirer of Pegasus. The evening ended with a real firework of a piece, Alexandru Pascanu’s ‘Sarba Dance on a Chair’, which had the choir clapping and stamping along to its fast and complex cross-rhythms.