Review of March 14 2003 Concert, Westborough



Mastersingers excite 500 in winter concert

By Carla Paulson Mason

Diversely talented musical groups continue to thrill Westborough audiences with, outstanding performances in the Charlotte Spinney Auditorium’s first year of service. Assabet Valley Mastersingers drew about 500 people to its first visit last Sunday afternoon.

Music Director Robert Eaton’s well-trained singers nicely delineated the serenity of Johannes Brahms’ “Nanie” (Elegy) from the emotional excitement of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”

As an 1982 alumna of WHS active in musicals, visiting the new auditorium for the first time, I was also thrilled by its spaciousness and acoustics! It has comfortable roomy seats and good sight lines, and I loved the view from the balcony. Seeing Westborough friends on the stage and in the seats heightened my anticipation!

Elegy was very relaxing.  The introduction, beautifully performed by Judy Yauckoes, was soothing and a wonderful preparation for the piece. I didn’t want it to end!

The intermission that immediately followed puzzled me “What if I’m not ready to get up?” my companion asked, who learned in Theater 101 that intermission was for the audience, not the performers.

Was something’ missing? No. Shortly, an ensemble of pianists and percussionists walked onto the stage, followed by the 72-voice chorus  and Soprano Priscilla Gale, Tenor Rockland Osgood and Baritone Donald Wilkinson.

I had my answer.

“Carmina Burana” is a lengthy, exciting and complex work with 25 movements. A talented, well-rehearsed and patient group of 24 children further swelled the stage to participate in several of the movements. The program’s libretto and English translations printed in the program enabled
us to understand and appreciate the work’s emotional nuances.

Following along in my program, even though I don’t speak Medieval Latin or Middle German, I could relate the context of the poems to the singers’ expressions and the alternating clamor and softness of the excellent percussionists and dueling pianos.  Because of the translation, the humor of the poetry was not lost.  Heads throughout the audience bobbed as the singers and instrumentalists musically danced through the arrival of spring, the “party” in the tavern and the somewhat difficult rite of courtship.

In the rousing “Tempus est iocundum,” a growing number of singers rejoiced in “bursting with love!” Throughout all the  movements, the performers displayed their ability to rejoice and express sorrow with vastly different musical expression.

This concert was a pleasure to attend, and I look forward to their 25th anniversary performance on May 10.