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Review of the Performance at Hereford from The Times
Wednesday, September 12, 1888.

This evening’s concert should induce the Hereford authorities to seriously consider the question whether it would not be advisable to provide a more capacious concert room than the Shire-hall by the time the next festival comes round. Not only was the hall crowded to suffocation, but it was understood that twice the number of seats might have been sold had they been available; and the space was even more limited on the platform than in the auditorium, the consequence being that the three choirs in their entirety could not take part in the performance. A considerable share of the work, and of the credit due to it, fell therefore upon the Leeds contingent of 50, which was joined to about 100 local singers. In an artistic sense the result was favourable rather than otherwise, the attack being much more decided and the manner more delicate than they had been in the morning.

The cause of the numerous attendance is not difficult to discover. The Golden Legend enjoys at this moment a greater degree of popular favour than any other contemporary work of its class, and on this occasion its attractiveness was further enhanced by the presence of the composer, who conducted the performance. The same circumstance makes a detailed notice of the rendering quite unnecessary.

It might perhaps have been improved by more careful preparation. The orchestral accompaniments were too powerful under Sir Arthur Sullivan’s superintendence and almost throughout, but in the main the composer’s intentions were fully realized, and this, after all, is the ideal and immutable standard by which all executive efforts must be measured.

The soloists, Madame Albani and Mr. Lloyd, are too fully identified with the parts of Elsie and Prince Henry, which they created at Leeds, to require any further word of comment. Miss Hilda Wilson’s sonorous contralto showed to excellent advantage in the air, “Virgin who lovest the pure and lowly,” and Mr. Brereton, in addition to realizing a good deal of the humour which is the dramatic and musical keynote of Lucifer, did full justice to the vocal demands of his task.

It is needless to add that the work was much applauded, and that the composer received the customary ovation both before and after the performance.

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