' We really enjoyed the concert ... you make a great duo and the programme was so varied and fun. Altogether a lovely evening. ' Viv Arthur
This year’s Summer Concert took place on 21st July and saw the return of soprano Gillian Wells and pianist Helen Wilkins, due to popular demand. Last year saw a programme of music from Mozart to musicals. This year their programme promised music from art songs and opera to songs from the shows.
The concert began with ‘Les Chemins de l’amour’ by Poulenc. Gillian then continued with a selection of pieces by Massenet, R. Strauss, R Schumann, H. Wolf and Mascagni. Though all these pieces were sung in either French, Italian or German, the audience were given a clear insight to the setting of each song by the introductory scene setting given by Gillian before each one. The first half concluded with ‘Love went A-Riding’ by Frank Bridge. The second half started with ‘Love’s Philosophy’ by Roger Quilter. There then followed pieces by Quilter, Cole Porter and Gershwin concluding with ‘There are fairies at the bottom of our garden’ by Lehmann. It was a varied programme which delighted the audience. Last year Gillian impressed with the high quality of her singing, this year was even better and left the audience inspired and spell bound.
Helen also played her role of accompanist to Gillian admirably. Then she shone as she played her piano solos. We heard Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat major, Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen and Debussy’s Clair de lune. Helen also set the scene for each of her pieces before playing each one beautifully. We thought the quality of her performance last year was excellent but this year it was outstanding. Her smiling enthusiasm and passion for her music was clear to see by all as she shared her love of it with us – certainly it was ‘food for the soul’.
We were expecting a very high standard from them both after last year’s performance – this year’s concert was a sell-out – but they exceeded our expectations. Everyone left uplifted by the quality of music and they were all rewarded for venturing out on a very wet evening. Pam Yates.