And this unsolicited response from an audience member in a letter to the Waterbury
Waterbury Choral Society concert was a thrill from the start - Carl Strange, Southbury
The June 3 concert given by the Connecticut Choral Society at Naugatuck Valley
Community College was an astounding triumph, not because the quality of theperformance
was surprising, but because the centerpiece of the event, Ralph Vaughan Williams’
Symphony No. 1, is one with which I am so thoroughly familiar that my expectations
were unfairly high.
I received the album as a Christmas gift nearly 40 years ago, and have acquired
several newer recordings since. I listened not as a casual concert-goer, but as one
who has a great love for many individual passages in the score. My prejudiced ears
left noroom for variance, let aloneerror.
And yet, not a measure, not a note, disappointed me. It was a thrill from the
start. Perhaps most amazingly, when "Sea Symphony" ended after a little more than
an hour and the last note died, conductor Eric Knapp stood with the performers in
a seven-second tableau of silence. The applause erupted into a well-deserved roar.
Knapp and the CCS, along with the Choral Society of New Jersey, bowed to us, but
I wish to make public here my even deeper bow to them.
A Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams, written between 1903 and 1909 is his first
and longest symphony. Walt Whitman's poetry in A Sea Symphony begs the question ...
“Who speak the secret of impassive earth?” and Ralph Vaughan Williams responds with
... “Singing” ... voices united in a powerful choral and orchestral proclamation.
In this moment rests the essence of our season.