Review of Apollo5

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Review of Apollo5 in Chatteris on Saturday 14th April 2018

Apollo5, five amazing singers sang to a packed audience in the Parish Church of St. Peter ad St. Paul in Chatteris Cambridgeshire on Saturday. These singers were Clare Stewart (soprano), Penelope Appleyard (soprano), Josh Coote (tenor), Oliver Martin-Smith (tenor) and Greg Link (bass).
The precision and beauty in their unaccompanied singing had the audience spellbound. The singers gelled perfectly. With sophisticated arrangements, this fantastic group filled the church vaults with pure, well-focussed sounds that ranged from the sheer beauty of an exquisitely-shaped phrase to well-synchronised, short, percussive and jazzy accompaniments.
Familiar songs, such as ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ suddenly seemed much more expressive and meaningful when sung by this highly musical and intuitive group. Their diction and musical awareness were outstanding.
One of the highlights included a completely different version of the ‘Skye Boat Song’. This arrangement by Fraser Wilson told the tragic story clearly and we were in no doubt about the plight of Bonnie Prince Charlie. This was so different to the school-type jolly version that we are so used to hearing.
The full programme of songs included those that ranged from the pure, interlaced music of the finest quality from Byrd to the mechanical sounds and jolly banter of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Josh Cooter’s horn in the latter, was highly amusing and effective..
‘Don’t stop me now’ welcomed Queen in our midst and Freddie Mercury was easily imagined as these singers brought back his exuberance and unfettered enjoyment of life.
This group sang as one, with a phenomenally rich tone. No matter how complicated the accompaniment or difficult the sound effects their voices formed, they also demonstrated a deep appreciation of the emotional message of the music they were singing. Other noticeable items in the programme included ‘Who will Buy?’, ‘Your Song’, Cambridgeshire composer John Rutter’s arrangement of ‘O Waly, Waly’, ‘All through the Night’, Tavener’s ‘Mother of God Here I stand’, a particularly contemplative ’O Radiant Dawn’, ‘The Dark Island’, contrasting madrigals: ‘I Love Alas, I Love Thee’ and a particularly serene ‘O Silver Swan’, ‘The Way you Look Tonight’, ‘Johanna’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody’.
This was a wonderful concert organized by Chatteris Music Society. The audience clamoured for an encore which was justly deserved.
For more information about this renowned group contact: www.apollo5.co.uk
The next event organised by Chatteris Music Society will be Julian Bliss with his Jazz Quintet on Saturday 30th June 2018. contact: www.chatterismusicsociety.org.uk

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