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C.U.M.S. MAY WEEK CONCERT, Tranchell, The Cambridge Review, 7th June1952

On Sunday, June 1, the May Week Concert of the C.U.M.S. was given in the Guildhall. Instead of writing my own opinion, I have consulted a number of people, and this short article is the distillation of listener research—another step towards the democratisation of discernment. I would add, that as indisposition prevented me from attending, this hearsay will not be discoloured by my own prejudices.

For Stanford’s arrangement of God Save the Queen no comments were forthcoming, and this is praise indeed. Brahms’s Noenia was pronounced charming, easy listening. Saint Patrick’s Breastplate by Sir Arnold Bax lacked lustre, apparently—in fact it was really tedious. Bizet’s Symphony in C was disappointing. Something more exciting could have been elicited from the material, perhaps. Much enthusiasm was expressed for the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. An intensely gripping work, obviously, with its forthright simplicity and impelling surge. One person labelled it lovely and loud. Another admired the trenchant fingerwork on the two pianos, and was impressed by the brilliant percussion being constantly detonated in the kitchen department. On the whole one gathers there was enough delicious noise to go round. No one went short.

Of the soloists, Adrienne Cole (soprano) was remarked on as very good, and Redvers Llewellyn (baritone) as not at all bad—with a special mention for his singing the part of a jovial abbot in the Carmina Burana. Peter Boggis also received a pat on the back. Meanwhile Boris Ord, the mainstay (not to say main sail, capstan, prow, keel and tiller) of C.U.M.S., was evidently in best of form, conducting with vigour and vitality.

Peter Tranchell