Choir singing in Royal Hall
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Rutter Requiem and Jenkins The Peacemakers

Harrogate Choral Society with Harrogate Ladies College Gallery Choir

The Royal Hall, Harrogate, 8 June 2013

John Rutter - click for larger view
John Rutter takes the audience's acclaim at the Royal Hall in Harrogate (Picture by Stephen Mobbs)
Click on image for larger view

Memorable night of classical music at Royal Hall

A large audience greeted Harrogate Choral Society for their summer concert in the Royal Hall on Saturday.

The programme comprised two works, the first of which was the beautiful and increasingly well-known Requiem composed by John Rutter. The performance was given in the presence of the composer who had come to Harrogate especially to hear the performance.

From the outset, the choir sang with confidence and assured tone and very good enunciation.

Andrew Padmore conducted with a superb sense of tempo, never hurrying, allowing the music to breathe naturally.

The important cello solo in Out of the deep was superbly played by George Kennaway; the notes hanging and drifting with timeless ease.

Hannah Kerr, soprano, provided a sweet and rather endearing tone to the Pie Jesu, although one felt the lower register of her voice was, perhaps, a little too soft for the acoustics of the hall.

The Amici Orchestra accompanied the singers extremely well, with the sensitivity of playing which makes this orchestra such a joy.

To great applause from the audience, John Rutter was brought forward by Andrew Padmore and showed his obvious delight with the performance of this lovely composition.

Following the interval the choral society and the Amici Orchestra were joined by The Gallery Choir from Harrogate Ladies College for a performance of The Peacemakers by Karl Jenkins.

This recent and quite remarkable work dates only from 2011 and was receiving its first public performance in Yorkshire.

Karl Jenkins takes the idea of peace as the central subject, quoting the sayings of many important figures, adding quotations from the Bible and other literary works as well as including original texts written by himself and his wife, Carol Barrett.

The work is lengthy and tricky, being divided up into 16 sections but it never loses its focus on the idea of peace.

The Gallery Choir were 40 in number ranging from Year 5 to Year 9. Singing with great confidence, they were a great compliment to the main body of singers. The standard of their performance as well as their overall presentation demonstrated very clearly the excellence of their training under Mrs Kate Morgan, director of music at Harrogate Ladies College.

Karl Jenkins’ score is full of both instrumental and textural variety and contains some riveting percussion detail.

The choral society produced a wide range of dynamics in the piano to pianissimo range, as well as good fortes.

Hannah Kerr was much more successful in her solo Peace is…, the sweet quality of her voice being used to great effect.

The Amici Orchestra played with great sincerity and we must thank Andrew Padmore for what was a well-received and lovely evening.

Adrian Selway